What does a 33-year-long love story look like? From 1990 to 2023, from the age of 20 to 53, they have stood together, supporting and cherishing each other.
They were not intellectuals of their era, but they both nurtured a daughter who, at the age of 15, entered university and became an outstanding dance performer.
In their 33 years of knowing and being with each other, their love story goes beyond the ordinary, encompassing more than just the usual day-to-day routines. It includes adventures that took them across vast distances and through mountains and rivers.
People often say, "Love is precious, but freedom is even more valuable." Yet for them, these 33 years have been a harmonious blend of love and freedom, accompanied by their bicycles, resulting in tranquility and happiness.
"When I speak of Feicheng, the place known for its plump peaches," she says, there's immense joy in her words.
She spent 7 of her 8 years of retirement cycling in Feicheng.
I think that to tell the story in as much detail as possible, the opening should start here.
Feicheng is often called "the city of gentlemen." It's a place of great talents, beautiful mountains, and clear waters.
Cloud-covered peaks such as Yunmeng Mountain, Jianyun Mountain, and Taoshan create a picturesque landscape, with lush forests, fragrant sandalwood trees, ancient towering trees, and a serene ambiance.
In 2017, after two years of retirement, she brought him, who had a bit more free time, onto this cycling path.
Between 2017 and 2021, they traversed these places many times.
In the midst of the lush vegetation of Yunmeng Mountain, with dappled sunlight, they held hands as trusted companions, sharing a knowing smile.
On Taoshan, with pristine winds and clear blue skies, they stood together on the rocks, close and affectionate.
Jianyun Mountain offered clear skies and refreshing air, as they sat on stone steps for a moment, their silent gaze revealing deep, unspoken affection.
As the seasons changed, the landscape transformed, but the deep love in their hearts only grew stronger.
"In a contented heart, there lies poetry and distant horizons."
In 2021, they moved from Feicheng to Taian, and she finally had her retired partner. On their fifth cycling journey around the Shandong Peninsula, they had a new perspective on a route they'd already traveled four times.
In 2022, they returned to Feicheng for another ride, and a photographer captured a series of photographs. Amongst the colorful foliage of Shi Wu Dong, the mountains were ablaze with red leaves. They sat amidst the vibrant and lively foliage, yet it felt as though the world had faded, leaving only each other.
I asked her if she ever got tired of riding in the same place repeatedly for eight years.
She replied with a cheerful tone and said, "In these 33 years of mutual support and the tender companionship of a loved one, happiness isn't about having everything; it's about finding joy in the things you have. We don't expect grandeur; we just hope for a peaceful and ordinary life."
In the small worlds of Feicheng and Taian, she found her own poetry and distant horizons.
"His gaze always follows you, while the bicycle continues forward."
After she started using Douyin (TikTok), she uploaded many cycling videos, with her back featured prominently.
She said, "He always secretly records me from behind, continuously capturing my back," a statement that seemed to contain a touch of complaint, but was primarily filled with happiness.
It's as if his gaze has always been fixed on her, ever since he gathered the courage to strike up a conversation with her.
She is Liu Xia, and he is her partner, Wang Deli.
Initially, I was only struck by the persistence of pursuing the wind even at an advanced age and was curious about the origins of this determination, but I was fortunate to hear a story of unwavering love and trust.
I tried to outline her cycling experiences in as much detail as possible, but I discovered that his presence was woven into every aspect of her story with the bicycle.
33 years of companionship, 8 years of cycling, their love, fueled by a shared passion, has grown even stronger, radiating youthful energy.
If you too love cycling and are on the journey to find a lifelong companion, you might want to listen to this romantic story that spans 33 years, where love and bicycles thrive.
《One Step to the Sky》