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|Cyclists rest and pose for a photo before entering in Erlang Mountain tunnel on Sichuan-Tibet line on Road 318, July 23, 2013. (Photo/ CFP)|
For cycling lover, Sichuan-Tibet section of Road 318 is a road where beauty coexists with danger. Despite frequent traffic accidents, many cyclists flock to the section in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan province. Conservatively estimation shows more than 10,000 people are cycling on the Sichuan-Tibet line. This summer, the number of cyclists on the road has reached an unprecedented level.
The reporter interviewed 100 random riders on Sichuan-Tibet line in a week. Nearly 90 percent of them are college students, aged between 18 and 23. About 40 percent of riders are armatures who do not have rich long-distance cycling experience and some of them set off their journey for first time but with less than three months’ preparation. Their life is simple and boring, riding in daytime and sleeping in a small inn (4-5 US dollars/night) at the roadside. They often rely on biscuits and bun on the long mountain road.
"Sichuan-Tibet line has come into cyclists’ view since 2004 due to a popular TV drama at that time,” an experienced cyclist surnamed Miao said. “In fact, most riders give up on their way. Less than 20 percent of cyclists eventually arrive in Lhasa.” Miao said that he felt sorry for those who sell their bikes and equipment at a relatively low price and go home by train and airplane at last.
A highway staff said that the Erlang Mountain tunnel on Sichuan-Tibet is eight meters’ wide only open to cars. “It’s OK. We can collect the wastes left by riders every day,” he said. “But the graffiti they left on the NO bike sign, railing and landscape stone is annoying.”