I just had word from a specialist travel guide in China. The good news is that is IS possible to make the trip across China. There has to be a set itinerary and route, which cannot be diverted from – but you do get to choose that for yourself. The guides have provided me with a full breakdown, which is the entire route I requested with minor changes. That part of the trip will take 27 days on the road. (26 nights in hotels). The detours are to visit recommended sites such as the Terracotta Army, which I guess if you’re passing you may as well see, right?
Of course it’s not cheap, but it does include all the paperwork, licences, visas, bike transit, planning and an English speaking guide. In just a couple of emails the hardest part of the trip has turned into the easiest (for me), if I justify the cost. Up for debate at the moment, but when you break it down it’s both do-able and reasonable. I just have to put the rest of the budget together and see. Plan A comes a step closer!!!