Pedaling from the Black Forest to the Yellow Sea
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Day 252 (China): km marker 82 on G310 - the Yellow Sea (no idea what to put here)

daily distance: 61km
total distance: 15,404km
riding time: 3-4h, but really: who cares?

The Yellow Sea. And me.

I arrived. At the Yellow Sea. Today. Just under 10 months ago I started pedaling in the Black Forest and have now reached the other end of the Eurasian continent. The idea wasn’t to head to Beijing by bike. I somehow wanted to get to the Yellow Sea. There it was before me now. As I was nearing it, tears started rolling down my cheeks - a whirlwind of memories flashing before my eyes as I drew closer and closer and could start smelling the salty air. And then it lay before me.

The end of a trip in some ways, but not in others. I began with no real vision of what it would be like 10 months ago and had no real idea what things would turn out to be this morning. I just let it happen. And the feelings were overwhelming as I arrived at the coast and plunked myself down to take in what was ahead. What it would feel like. Here is a - rather vain - attempt at describing the mixed bag of emotions, all swirling in my head at the same time:

- joy: I did it!, from the Black Forest to the Yellow Sea

- disbelief: did I really do this?, from the Black Forest to the Yellow Sea? Pinch me!

-  gratitude: for having made it safely; I know that some of you were worried about me many a day and I am grateful for your concern and glad that I wasn’t hit by a vehicle (despite a good number of close calls), never seriously injured and never really was in personal danger by other people

- early onset of nostalgia: while I’m glad that I did arrive, this also marks the end of an era for me; the free-wheeling days of being almost completely free to do what you like are drawing to a close and they will be missed

- lonesomeness: I was there by myself, no one to meet or greet me; in some sense this was welcome as I could just linger in my own thoughts and strange as it may seem, it was one of the first moments when I did feel alone in the last months

- fatigue: the last weeks have been grueling and have taken a toll on me, both physically and emotionally; as I was sitting there, I could feel how drained I was in every respect

- and an overwhelming and vast emptiness that started to open up … leaving this won’t be easy, but the memories that have literally amassed during this trip will stay with me for a lifetime

Did any of the many sacrifices that were involved in getting here make sense? I don’t know and I don’t want to think about it right now. Let me just say this: my hunch is yes. Over the past few days I have been receiving a good number of emails that have informed me that people enjoy the messages that they are receiving, that they feel that they are part of the journey and that I take them along for the ride. That is the best that I could hope for. For me personally, I got so much out of this experience, I would not want to miss a minute and I hope I could convey as much for the past months.

And I want to thank YOU! Yes, you. Without the feedback that I received through messages, emails, comments and other means I could not have done it. Thank you very, very much.


For those wanting some raw facts:

total distance on the bike: 15,404km

distance in vehicles: about 1,300km

climbing: well over 100km

days on the road: 252

flat tires: 0

helpful people: too many to count

The day started out with me not feeling badly, but not feeling great either. I was there and knew that this would be the end of the biking part of the trip. I took this as a good sign.

And so I rolled along. The km markers didn’t fly by, it was slow going. All the while I knew I would get there. My stomach was still not in great shape, but I motored along. Took a break here:

And then moved on. I had decided to head north and evade a larger city. And then I started to feel the pull of the Yellow Sea. I couldn’t smell the ocean, that would be difficult given the wind conditions. But I knew I was close and so eventually I turned off the main road and just headed east. I had to thread my way a few times, but kept the general direction until I hit a bridge and a good road on a dam running next to a river. I followed and just wanted to arrive. And didn’t want to arrive. But really I did. And then I saw two buildings ahead of me - spaced about a km apart, signaling the river gates and I knew I was there. Past a construction site and then I got the first glimpse of the Yellow Sea. I could smell the salty air of the ocean now. After taking in where I was, I sat down …


I don’t know how long I was sitting there, but turned away eventually and went to the city of Ganyu where the waves of exhaustion were washing over me in a way that I hadn’t experienced them before. I just passed the time hanging around after taking a long, hot shower in my hotel.

There will be a few more postings here in the next few days as I am heading to Beijing and then on to Germany. So do stay tuned.


1 Antoinette { 12.03.08 at 1:00 pm }

Congratulations. I can not manage anything more than this. Approriate words elude me.

2 Lisa Kuechenhoff { 12.03.08 at 5:04 pm }

Congrats, Markus! I am very happy for you. Have a safe trip home!

3 Allen { 12.04.08 at 1:00 am }

Nice work! Congrats.

I found your site through Rob Thompson’s and have been following you for a while.

4 Cyrielle { 12.04.08 at 1:49 am }

Congratulations Markus ! I wish you best of luck in the US or wherever your path will take you next…

5 Michael L { 12.04.08 at 4:09 am }

Congratulations! What an amazing journey!!!

6 Dominic Jehle { 12.04.08 at 4:50 am }

Congratulations Markus! This is amazing!
I loved following your posts, it kind of made me feel like being right there with you.
Enjoy everything that’s coming now :)
You’re just awesome!

7 Ben { 12.04.08 at 5:30 am }

Great stuff Markus! Good on you for hanging in there when it got tough and achieving your dreams, your journey certainly is an inspiration to many. If you can motivate just one person to achieve their dreams than you have succeded, and I am sure this is the case. All the best with the next few days and weeks as you prepare for a new life elsewhere.

8 Fabian Breuer { 12.04.08 at 1:55 pm }

Congratulations! I followed your blog all along! I will get to talk to you some time!

9 Nancy { 12.05.08 at 10:43 am }

Markus! Alef Mabrook for making it — I’ve loved reading your postings over the past months. Your pictures are gorgeous.

10 SLA { 09.04.09 at 2:48 am }

I want to know, HOW WAS YOUR FEELING~!!
have a great trip to~

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