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Our cycle challenge follows a spectacular route, truly remote through the mountainous area north-east of Beijing, the Great Wall of China a constant companion for the week. It stretches for 6000km in a snaking line across China; we have time to appreciate the small section we are following as it meanders across the mountains. It conjures up a sense of history which is difficult to grasp until you have had the opportunity to experience it. With several climbs to tax us along the route we will certainly feel our legs but the sheer privilege of seeing this land and its people will outweigh any aches and pains. This challenge is physically demanding, it has been graded moderate but expect a tough day or two in the saddle. It does offer fabulous scenery and a fascinating insight into a rich culture and history as a reward for all your hard work.

Day 1: Depart London for Beijing

Day 2: Arrive Beijing International Airport 
Drive approx 2 hrs

Transfer to our hotel in Huangyaguan, where we can freshen up, sort out our bikes and relax! There will be a full trip briefing in the evening. Night hotel.

Day 3: Huangyaguan – Beizhuang 
Cycle approx 95km / 9 – 10 hours

Huangyaguan is a small town situated in a beautiful valley in the heart of the Yanshan Mountains, with wonderful views of the Great Wall of China, which we’ll see frequently throughout today’s ride. Leaving the town behind us, we are soon on quiet roads which lead us into open valleys planted with fruit trees. Our route is gently undulating this morning, giving our legs a good warm-up. Passing a beautiful lake, we roll through villages, farmland and orchards until a steeper, longer climb takes us to our lunch-stop. After a rest we have a wonderful descent, but it’s not long before we start going uphill again! Our climbs this afternoon are a little more strenuous, but the views of the mountains get better and better! After a stiff and fairly long climb, we cross the province border and enjoy some great mountain views, then a long twisting downhill section. Our route continues to undulate, with a lovely descent through a steep-sided gorge; crossing the river, we reach our accommodation and can relax! Night hotel.

Day 4: Beizhuang – Jinshanlin 
Cycle approx 92km / 8 – 10 hours

Today sees us tackling steeper and longer hills, but the views of the Great Wall and surrounding mountains get better and better! We start on predominantly flat roads, though they quickly become more hilly as we head out through beautiful valleys with wonderful views to each side. We see the Great Wall in the distance several times as we pass through small villages. The Wall crosses our road as we tackle a long, fairly steady climb; we stop for lunch a little further on. Well rested, we continue our climb – the last section growing steeper – and then start our long descent. On the way down we pass through a village which looks as though it hasn’t changed for centuries, so take it easy and have a good look around! On the approach to Jinshanlin we pass under a large archway and then have a gentle climb to our hotel. The Great Wall at Jinshanlin offers spectacular views; if you’re not too tired this evening it’s an easy half-hour walk to see it. Night hotel.

Day 5: Jinshanlin – Tianmenshan Cycle approx 78km / 7 – 9 hours

Our morning sees us cycling over predominantly flat or descending road; the views of the Great Wall as we cycle through the Jinshanlin – Gubeiko region are wonderful. Passing through small villages and towns which give us a wonderful insight into rural life in this region, we have lunch and rest in preparation for a hillier afternoon! After a short climb we enjoy a long sweeping descent into a very picturesque gorge; following the valley we pass fishing lakes and can see the Great Wall perched up on the ridge to our left. Crossing the bridge, our road starts to climb, and we can admire the views of the turrets above the rocky face of the gorge. The gradient grows steeper at the end, but we are rewarded with wonderful views over the valley with its high rock walls and endless mountain views. It’s a lovely downhill ride to our hotel, situated near the No 1 Waterfall, a popular tourist spot and a scenic place for a wander if you wish (optional; entrance fee applies).

Day 6: Tianmenshan – Mutianyu 
Cycle approx 82km / 7 – 9 hours

A spectacular morning’s cycling awaits us! Climbing and descending through mountain gorges, with short tunnels taking us through the rock walls, we are surrounded by incredible panoramas of seemingly endless mountain ridges – every hair-pin bend brings us a new view! After lunch, and a wonderful descent with views of the Great Wall before us, we head through the busy modern town of Huairou – a contrast to the remote villages we’ve passed through and a good insight into contemporary China. Our roads are a little busier than normal as we approach Mutianyu, where probably the best-preserved section of the entire Great Wall, complete with 22 watch towers, awaits us.

Day 7: Mutianyu to Xiawan 
Cycle approx 100km / 9 – 11 hours

Today sees our big climb, but there’s an afternoon of descending to make up for it! Leaving Mutianyu behind us, our road undulates with short ups and downs through villages and lovely scenery. As we start our long climb (approx 20km) the road cuts through an impressive section of the Great Wall; a little further on we enjoy spectacular views over the Wall and the lake below us. The climb gets steeper as we get higher – this is a true challenge! At the top there are wonderful views of the surrounding valleys and mountains; we stop for lunch shortly after. Our afternoon’s ride is basically one long varied descent, with a few flattish or short uphill sections thrown in to remind us to use our legs! We pass through villages and cross rivers and valleys, enjoying the scenery and the freewheeling!

Day 8: Xiawan - Yanqing 
Cycle approx 90km / 9 – 11 hours

Today’s ride takes us from the mountains to the lowland plain that surrounds Beijing. Our ride starts in a narrow valley and soon we’re winding our way up through the mountains on a long but relatively gentle climb. Our road follows the course of the Black River and the views of the river, wooded valleys and steep gorges are truly stunning. The descent that follows is steep initially and then eases off, punctuated by short rises into villages. We enjoy a rare flat section as we ride parallel to the White River, and have lunch by a lake. We ride uphill to a dam, then roll along for a while and climb again; a fast, exciting long descent ends our afternoon. Exhilarated, we ride carefully through the town of Yanqing to our hotel. Night hotel.

Day 9: Yanqing – Juyongguan 
Cycle approx 31km / 2 – 3 hours; Drive approx 2 hours

Our flattish morning’s ride takes us south, passing the restored Great Wall at Badaling; a popular destination for day-trippers from Beijing, these roads hosted the 2008 Olympic Cycling Road Race. We enjoy a long descent to Juyongguan, an equally impressive but quieter section of Great Wall. A short climb takes us through an archway and we finish at a large watchtower, surrounded by the Great Wall – a wonderful end to our cycle challenge with plenty of photo opportunities! We load up our bikes into the waiting vehicles and transfer to Beijing – a frenetic city which forms a real contrast to the China we have experienced by bike! Time permitting, we’ll spend the afternoon with a tour of the Forbidden City and Tianenman Square. Night hotel. (Dinner not included)

Day 10: Free day in Beijing

Today is free to explore the city, sightsee or shop before meeting up again for our Celebration Meal in the evening. (Lunch and Dinner not included)

Day 11: Depart Beijing

We transfer to the airport for our flight back to London – arrive same day.

Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.