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The Trip Starts July 3, 2005 and ends August 25, 2005 (see route & schedule)
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Why Bike Across China? - 133 kilometers
HuiNing -- Mon, Jul 25, 2005
This is a question that I have been asked in every press interview and I am sure a few of you are wondering. Even more specificly -- what does biking across China have to do with you? We've got two reasons for you:

If you are in America -- this actually has a lot to do with you. First, pat yourself on the back. The strides we have made in America in terms of Autism awareness and support are light years ahead of many other areas of the world. When other countries are struggling just to make people aware that there are people with mental disabilities (really, this is true); we are pusing to implement inclusion programs and to expand support services in business and day to day life.

But don't pat yourself too much -- we still have a lot more to do. We still need to push ahead with support services and awareness, especially in certain areas. But moreover, it is time to put significant resources into autism research in the US. We are still at the beginning stages of understanding autism (a broad classification for a spectrum of what are mostly likely developmental and or genetic neurlogicial disorders), but the first steps have been taken. Researchers and making new discoveries on the genetic front as we speak and the progress is encouraging.

You can help change the lifes of millions of children by helping support autism research in the US.

If you are in China -- its all about awareness. First, I want to say that the steps being made on this front are incredibly encouraging. At every school we have visited I have seen numerous young volunteers and incredibly enthusastic hearts. Change is occuring, slowly but surly.

I probably don't need to tell you about the awareness and perception of mental disabilities in China, but humor me. Having a child with a mental disability bares with it a large social stigma in China, along with incredible financial and emotional burden. Children in China are expected to support there parents when they grow older -- they are your social security in China. But a child with a mental disability changes that equation dramatically.

Additionally parents have incredible social pressures to bring up the best and brightest students -- it is seen as a reflection of themselves to their peers and colleauges. Having a child with a mental disability is sometimes seen as reflecting a character flaw within the parents.

These pressures along with little or no educational (normal schools will not accept mentally disabled children and the segregates special schools are often overcrowded or not of suitable quality) or social support, parents often literally hide their children inside their houses. Before this trip -- Fang Wen Guang had met only one person with a mental disability in China -- he is 21 years old and an education major!!!

So I ask you -- keep the momentum going in China! Get some friends together and volunteer at a school for children with mental disabilities (or special olympics). Urge the government to increase the support services for parents and families of children with mental disabilities. Be creative, get involved!

Biking Update
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Another great day. The scenery is really beautiful out here -- it makes biking for 8 hours actually fun, incredible. Met a biker who is going to Lhasa from Lanzhou. Great guy, from Shanxi provence -- the coal mine of China. Great report on Shanxi on the Smile Train's web site (www.smiletrain.com).

The people out here make you really appreciate what you have in the States. Almost everyone we pass is a peasant farmer and the farming techniques are entertaining to say the least. Their are not large pressures for efficency in farming, with a huge labor capital overhang in China. Some argue against the way farming has gone in America (corporate), but if you look at China, you would have to at least think there is some sense to it.

Hopefully pictures soon ;)

 

Trip Diary
Pre-trip
Stage 1: Shanghai - Nanjing (7/3 - 7/6)
Stage 2: Nanjing - Hefei (7/8 - 7/9)
Stage 3: Hefei - Xi'an (7/11 - 7/19)
Stage 4: Xi'an - Lanzhou (7/22 - 7/27)
Stage 5: Lanzhou - Jiayuguan (7/29 - 8/5)
Stage 6: Jiayuguan - Turpan (8/7 - 8/16)
Stage 7: Turpan - Urumqi (8/18 - 8/19)
Stage 8: Urumqi - Korgaz (8/22 - 8/28)

Date Title Location
Aug 23 Sweet Pain -- We Made It Korgaz
Aug 22 Uphill to Wind Lake Salima Hu
Aug 21 Biking The Prisoneer Highway Along the Red Pepper Mountains JingHe
Aug 20 Chinese Mothers TunHe
Aug 19 The Final Volunteer Day Urumqi
Aug 18 Urumqi, What a City Urumqi
Aug 17 The Last Day for Wen Ray and Fang Wen Guang Urumqi
Aug 16 Rugged Desert and The Police
Aug 15 The Second Lowest Place in the World Turpan
Aug 14 Toilet Paper vs. Prostitutes QiKeTai
Aug 13 Sunset is Nice, Biking in the Dark Isn't YiWanQuan
Aug 12 Meeting Our Match Hami
Aug 11 Dry to the bone Hami
Aug 11 Gobi Down Hami
Aug 10 Small Town China Small town on edge of desert
Aug 9 Chinese Customer Service (Negotations) Dunhuang
Aug 8 Let's Talk About The Roads Dunhuang
Aug 7 Kao, Kao, Kao Lamb's Barn
Aug 6 Sick Returns Yumen
Aug 5 Volunteer Day in Jiayuguan Jiayuguan
Aug 4 Being a Chinese Wingman Jiayuguan
Aug 3 The Desert Has Arrived QingShui
Aug 2 Talking Politics in China Zhengye
Aug 1 Biking the Great Wall Zhengye
Jul 31 Where's the Beef... No Lamb? Small Village
Jul 30 A Toilet Seat Would Be Nice WuWei
Jul 29 Being a Celebrity TienJou
Jul 29 The Faces We Pass TienJou
Jul 28 Volunteer Day in Lanzhou Lanzhou
Jul 27 I got a visa ;) Lanzhou
Jul 26 The Six Questions Lanzhou
Jul 25 Why Bike Across China? HuiNing
Jul 24 The Mountain Climbs Begin LongDe
Jul 23 The West Has Arrived YongChuang
Jul 22 Sick or Not the Kilometers Must Go On YongShou
Jul 22 Three Stages Down -- Five to Go YongShou
Jul 21 A Full Volunteer Day in Xi'an Xi'an
Jul 20 Leaving Relics at the Terracotta Warriors Xi'an
Jul 19 And I thought I was ok... Xian
Jul 17 Longest day ever TongGuang
Jul 16 No Hot Water Until 6pm Luoyang
Jul 15 Volunteer Day in ZhengZhou ZhengZhou
Jul 14 XuChang to ZhengZhou ZhengZhou
Jul 13 Zhumadian to XuChang XuChang
Jul 12 News Clip from Nanjing Newspaper Zhumadian
Jul 12 10 Days Down Zhumadian
Jul 11 Chinese law is not always written Xin Yang
Jul 10 Biking at Night Huang An
Jul 9 Easy Day to Lu'an Lu'an
Jul 8 Sad I Don't Have the Answer Hefei
Jul 7 The Chinese Countryside Quan Jiao
Jul 6 Teaching English in Nanjing Nanjing
Jul 5 Rain is a beautiful thing Nanjing
Jul 4 Happy Independence Day in China Changzhou
Jul 3 Hot, hot, hot in Suzhou Suzhou
Jul 2 Autism in Shanghai Shanghai
Jun 23 Autism In China -- An Amazing Day Beijing
Jun 18 Training -- Beijing to Baoding Baoding

 

   
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