Earlier that same day, I’d already photographed Paula on two old sections of the same route. This is the original first path (as described in The Long and Winding Road):
As well as giving names to my bike rides, I may give names to specific sections. The next two photos show the start of the second path, the palm grove. I did take a photo of Paula on the path in the foreground of the first picture, but her face was obscured by a sprig of green leaves. Notice the sinuous curves on this section, which make it vital to maintain an optimum speed (too slow and you’ll wobble over the edge; but too fast and you won’t make the turns):
The last photo in this sequence shows the path a couple of hundred metres beyond the palm grove:
I included a photo of Paula crossing the iron bridge—a feature of one of the newly added paths—in Room for Improvement. Here’s another:
However, the undoubted highlight of the new, improved, long and winding road is the spiral ramp. Here are two photos of Paula that I took on 11th February this year:
Here is a sequence of four photos that Paula took of me on 18th March:
…and here are another two of Paula, which I took on 25th March:
Finally, here is a video that Paula took of me on this formidable obstacle on 6th May (be sure to click the ‘full screen’ icon):
The frontier road is a pleasant out-and-back excursion that we usually combine with other rides. Between the road and the Chinese border is an area of fish ponds, many of which are still in use, and there are a few points along the road where it is possible to wander off into this area. I became obsessed with finding a through route that involved entering the area via one track and leaving it by another, but to date I’ve managed only one connection. This is Paula on that solitary connection on 11th February:
…and this is her in roughly the same place on 4th March:
I took these photos as much for their picturesque quality as for any intrinsic excitement. In fact, no difficulty is involved in cycling this section. However, whenever we do the frontier road, we always divert to the right just before the top of the climb out of the frontier area to tackle Liu Pok Hill (named after the village we pass through en route), and 4th March wasn’t an exception. The next four photos were also taken on that day.
There is quite a good place to stop by the turn, and a couple of years ago when I reached this point I met two young cyclists who were taking a rest. Nonchalantly, I asked them where they were going, and upon hearing their reply said that this was a much better way. I didn’t mention the hill.
I wouldn’t normally be stopping to take photos here, but Paula had shouted to me that there was something wrong with her bike. I’d already started the hill, so I pulled to one side while she checked the problem. When she was ready to resume, I took the following four photos:
If the two young cyclists I’d persuaded to come this way were dismayed, they certainly didn’t show it. In fact, they seemed pleased to have been shown a road they didn’t know existed. While we frequently see cyclists on the main frontier road, I’ve only ever seen a solitary cyclist on this diversion.
The next two photos were taken on the alarmingly steep descent path that I described in Detour de Force:
Finally, here are three photos of Paula on another ramp on the newly upgraded long and winding road. It is much easier than the spiral ramp, but I failed on my first attempt because I had no idea what to expect around what is effectively a blind corner. Notice the nearer of the two pipes to the centre of the alley. I carelessly allowed my front wheel to pass right of the pipe, and by the time I’d clocked my mistake, there was no way out.
I shall be heading off back to the UK for the summer in a couple of weeks, but I hope to be able to take a few more ‘interesting’ cycling photos next winter.