Cycling in Shanxi - General Info

Watch out for CLOSED AREAS

We pedalled from Jining to Datong and then to the village of Taihuai by Wutai Shan. From there we headed west to Xinzhou and then to Jingle.

The area immediately SE of Datong is closed so we took the bus to Hunyuan, the town by the Hanging Monastery. However the road doesn't pass through any towns in the closed area so I'm pretty sure you'd get away with riding it. After Hunyuan the road goes over a 1900m pass, then after you turn SW it deteriorates in quality to "good dirt" and crosses a 1500m pass before descending to meet highway 108. We turned south in Shahe onto an excellent road towards Wutai Shan and crossed a 2700m pass to reach Taihuai which is at 1900m. We took the valley road south out of Taihuai because it had just snowed again.

We headed SW and crossed highway 108/208 in Xinzhou. From there we headed west over one low pass and then another 1750m pass to Jingle (there is accomodation in a village 30km west of Xinzhou between the passes). From Jingle the next town west is closed, so instead we went south and across a new bridge at the head of the lake (Fenhe Shuiku) to Lou Fan. From there we headed west to highway 209. There is a 1900m pass about 30km west of Lou Fan, the road is dirt from 20km west of Lou Fan all the way to highway 209. Then we went south down highway 209 which was nicely surfaced and not busy, past Fangshan to Lishi (25km north of Lishi the surface deteriorated badly and lots of traffic appeared from somewhere). From Lishi we headed west on highway 307 which was busy as far as Liulin and then became very pleasant. The reason for its pleasantness became apparent when we reached the Yellow River - there is no road bridge! Trucks and cars were being ferried across the river one at a time, while people and bicycles crossed a small bridge. The Yellow River is at an altitude of about 750m. See "Cycling in Shaanxi" below for the continuation.

We were in Shanxi in November and December, the weather was clear and cold (but sunny once you are above the all pervading pollution haze) almost every day. Typical daytime temperatures were around zero celsius, dropping to -5°C to -10°C at night. All heights are from my wristwatch altimeter so are ±100m, I include them because few maps give relief information.

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