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Cycling From Guangdong to Xinjiang

It can be easy to forget how big China really is, but Jerry Grey has biked and felt China’s vastness for himself—twice.

The first time Jerry biked across China was in 2014, from Guangzhou to Urumqi in Xinjiang. On that trip, upon reaching Urumqi, Jerry flew home to Zhongshan by plane. Jerry explains in the Of Course China! podcast that it made sense to eventually complete the second leg of the ride: “If you are going to cross China, you might as well go back again!” In 2019, Jerry, his wife Ann, and Australian friend Bev set off to Urumqi by plane, then biked back to Zhongshan.

During the second time, Jerry was stunned by the beautiful grasslands, vast deserts, snow-capped mountains and expansive stretches of wind turbines, and the incredible changes made to the towns that he remembered from his previous trip. In locations where he remembered huts and barely paved roads, he found three-story houses, shopping malls and car-filled parking lots. All these new improvements were built within the last five years.

Despite being able to complete such an impressive trip through harsh winds, scorching weather and 200 km distances of terrains between towns, Jerry is actually not a professional biker. Surprisingly, he picked up biking after moving to China and deciding to lose weight by biking to work.

For people considering a biking trip, Jerry voices his encouragement. To complete the trip, he believes bikers need the endurance to bike for 100 km for more than one day in a row. With endurance, free time and determination, Jerry thinks this trip would be possible for any biker.

Watch the Of Course China!podcast interview of Jerry Grey to discover the in depth scoop of his biking journey and his thoughts on Xinjiang.

* Photos courtesy of Phil Behan and Con Lai.