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Tour de China – Day 1

Location: Jingmen, Hubei, China (31.01985°N, 112.19240°E)
Mile: 80
It started at 6:30am. I rode to the meeting place for the Tour. I was the second person there. Others started showing up, including the three other tour riders. Before long, there were more than twenty bike club members. At 7am the four of us started with twenty other riders trailing behind us to see us off. We rode along the Yangtze river road passing hundreds of people out exercising, playing badminton, dancing or just walking. At the river bridge, we stopped to thank everyone for seeing us off. Then, we were off with a few others riding behind us to see us off a little more. It really was a heartfelt departure.

We started riding into the countryside. Being autumn, we saw hundreds of farmers harvesting the rice fields with harvesters or by hand. Many were carrying huge bundles of cut rice from the fields to waiting carts beside the road. Naturally, many stared at us riding by with the packs on our bikes. Most just stared at me, the bike-riding peacock once again.

At 6pm we arrived in Jingmen. I took a cold shower, ate a solo dinner (the other guys were resting in the rooms) and went for a walk through this new city. It seems roughly the size of Yichang, but it feels newer. There is a large walking street in the down town with plenty of flashing neon signs…reminiscent of Hong Kong. Hair salons seem to be the thing here. I saw four huge hair salons, all busy. People walking down the street with huge 80’s puffed out hairstyles. Lots of dyed hair too. Jingmen…city of hair.

One of the salons was kind enough to let me fill up my water bottles, so I chatted with the six attendants standing at the door. Apparently, there aren’t very many foreigners in Jingmen, hence all the staring. But what’s new? In any case, it seems like a fine place with friendly people. And big hair.

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