Monday, May 31, 2004

bravehearts on two-wheels

I have gained a healthy respect for Beijing cyclists after about one month here. Although there are dedicated bicycle lanes here, I wouldn't dare to cycle here for a million bucks!

The estimated 10 million cyclists in Beijing had left a deep impression in many visitors.

I have seen accidents here on a daily basis, either bike vs bike or bike vs cars. in fact, just saw one between a bike and a car when I was on my way back to office after lunch. luckily not fatal, cyclist still can argue with driver. a few days ago, saw a cyclist on highway riding in opposite direction! somehow they all think that they have a force field button on the bicycle.

like cyclists everywhere, Beijing cyclists always get the raw deal when they get into a car accident. This always happen when cars cut across bike lanes to turn in smaller roads and alleys. The situation got worse in the past year when hordes of new drivers get on the road. Official statistics said there were 2 million new cars (mostly in Beijing and Shanghai) in China. Generally, new drivers are regarded as deathwish drivers.

most Beijing cyclists are not recreational cyclists. They use their bike to get from point A to point B. There are massive bicycle parks (also got attendants) eveywhere. In fact, I have been told there are fewer cyclists nowadays since more people own cars or take the bus.

I've spotted bicycle shops stocking local brands and Taiwanese brands like Giant along major main-roads. of course, you can get your bike fixed or change inner tubings in neighborhoods shops for just a few "yuan" (less then S$1!)

I have seen a few recreational bikers (both angmohs and locals) on roadbikes, more often in suburbs (lower traffic). Also spotted angmoh (or lao wai) on motorbikes (Harleys or side-cars) in convoy on country roads.

I really admire their guts (cyclists and motor-cyclists) to put up with the horrendous traffic and dust to ride in the open air.


Post a Comment

<< Home