Awe-Inspiring Mountains, Lakes of Sichuan-Tibet Route

I wish to stay in Sichuan-Tibet

One day more

To breathe in the natural fresh air

To feel the verdant world

Yearning for my simple life

Sichuan-Tibet is far from me

But in remembering

My mood is lifted and light

This beautiful uncommon place

Where life is simple and sufficient

With faith in self

This is happiness

Tibetans’ happiness is just this simple. If you make happiness a part of you, then it is not difficult to experience the meaning of happiness. Why not seek happiness, if you are just a fleeting passerby anyway?

After the finish of the Qiong Hai Wetland bicycle race, a group of us thought that since we were there, we should relax and look around! After some discussion, there was still no clear idea of where we should go. Finally, someone suggested, "Let’s go ride the Sichuan-Tibet route." We all agreed it should be fantastic because the beauty of the Sichuan-Tibet route has long been talked about for its beauty and wonder. If we could ride the actual journey, it would create memories to last a lifetime!

When I first knew I was going to ride the Sichuan-Tibet route, I was actually looking forward to it, yet also afraid of getting injured because I used to listen to many stories about the route and it felt like a mysterious and dangerous place. Once I experienced the journey for myself, I completely changed my mind. Yaks ran on the vast expanse of grassland, and the high peaks and mountains surround the endlessly flowing rivers. This scenery all along the route absolutely amazed me!

The weather in the first two days was very bad. The higher in altitude we went, the heavier and harder it rained. A group of us were pessimistic and worried, until we arrived at Xinduqiao and the legendary National Highway 318, where every cycling hobbyist entered Tibet. It was only then that the weather cleared. But it was already dark when we arrived and our group stopped to rest in order to prepare for the Sichuan-Tibet cycling trip the next day.

You must ride National Highway 318 to feel its charm. We climbed above 4,000 meters above sea level at a sharp switchback. We were a little worried about altitude sickness at the beginning of the ride but because we knew that the altitude was particularly high, we started out carefully as we trained our cycling to prevent any incident later. To ride slowly is to enjoy the magnificence of the scenery along the Sichuan-Tibet route. Photos taken from your mobile phone along the way are like picturesque postcards; they are amazing without any editing required. Riding on this beautiful and vast Sichuan-Tibet route is double the happiness of any other route. The weather is comfortable and pleasant and there are awesome views on both sides of the road. It is a real treat to ride!

Riding and taking pictures along the way, I came to Tagong Temple (also known as Lhagang Monastery), is an important holy place for Tibetan worship in the Kham region and is more than 1,000 years old. At 3,750 meters above sea level, the Tagong Grassland is the most famous grassland located in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (also known as Ganzi) in the Sichuan Province. With luck, you can clearly see Mt. Yala, which sits 5,884 meters above sea level. In order to glimpse the snow-covered peak more closely, we made a temporary stop to swap our bicycles for horses to get a close look. With the majestic snow-capped mountain in front of us, the power of nature really made my chest swell and feel full of emotion.

We stayed one night in Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture (also known as Aba). After a full day of riding, the vast mountains and rivers along the Sichuan-Tibet route made us forget that we also had to go back down the mountain and go home. Although we did not take the route to its very end, the unforgettable landscape we passed was deeply scored in our minds. To be able to travel to these special places in my lifetime has really touched me. My bike, my teammates and this expedition is something that not everyone can experience. Next time, we must complete the full Sichuan-Tibet route!!!

Each photo

Is full of memories

In a lifetime

A time of quiet to slow down.

Pedaling on the road, I think about where we are going

On the road pedaling, we head toward a distant destination

From the road admiring the view, we experience and harvest much

On the road in thought, we move forward

For every trip, we hope the road is our muse!

Author Wu Po-hung

Because of his brother, the author participated in Kaohsiung Freedom Cycling Team program and started training in sixth grade when he was in elementary school. By junior high he began formally competing and in high school was selected as a national champion. He has been training abroad for more than 20 years. He is currently the captain of the Novatec Merida Cycling Team.