12-Sep-2005 -- I set out by bike without gears from Luoyang (34.685N, 112.429E) at 8:00 AM on September 12, 2005. At 10:00 AM I reached Xin'an (34.721N, 112.161E), having had a nice easy road all the way. I found a hotel, dumped my bag, and was on my way again by 10:50 AM. The views were very nice from this point all the way - which means the terrain is really not suitable for a bike without gears :-( In all, you pass three deep valleys to the confluence, the climbs growing steeper as you progress. The road is good though, and very easy to follow since there is basically only one, and well marked at that: follow directions 'Shijing' (34.975N, 112.088E); from there it's another 8 km uphill as the crow flies, roughly west-north-west in a zig-zag line.
The actual confluence is only 10 m north of the road :-) (and not a few hundred meters west of it as the Chinese maps indicate), on the side of a small knoll that hides the road from view. I reached it at 16:45 PM. It's on a mountain ridge at an elevation of 728 m so the views are very nice in all directions (but for the view south you have to go to the other side of the knoll). Most of the terrain you see is covered in scrubs and trees, though there are some small maize fields too. The area is thinly inhabited but there are some local farmers and scrawny yellow cows around.
From the confluence, I freewheeled all the way to Shijing (30 minutes) and still managed to catch the last bus to Xin'an with some time to spare :-) I was exhausted though.
Scenic value, on a scale from 0 (square in front of the railway station of an industrial town) to 5 (fiercely protected temple on a volcano mountain top in Borneo): 4 for Westerners, 3 for Chinese.
Difficulty of access, on a scale from 0 (square in front of the railway station of an industrial town) to 5 (fiercely protected temple on a volcano mountain top in Borneo): 2 for Westerners, 1 for Chinese.
The 'scenic' way to do this: start out from Xin'an on a good bike with gears and go back by bike or take the bus back (one every 10 minutes) from Shijing at any point between Shijing and Xin'an.
The easy way to do this: take the bus from Xin'an to Shijing. From Shijing or for that matter Xin'an, there are some buses (not many) that go on to Yuli (35.033N, 112.011E) just north of the confluence on the bank of the Yellow River and beyond. It also shouldn't be too difficult to organise a car from Shijing or go on foot (2 hours or so). Or you can take a bike on the bus to Shijing.
The very easy way to do this: rent a car in Luoyang. You can very easily do it in a day.