Thursday, September 18, 2008

Biking in Beijing

So biking in this city is an experience.

Firstly, everyone goes at a leisurely pace. In the states, bikers are either excercise fanatics or hippies, so they take it pretty seriously. Here, everyone bikes to get everywhere. So people just go a whatever pace they like (and there are only single-speed bikes for the most part) and they'll get there when they get there.

Secondly, there doesn't seem to be any right-of-way rules with cars. If the car is going, you'd better stop. If you have a big group of people, maybe the car will stop for you. Or maybe not.

Thirdly, people carry everything with them on their bike. Friends often sit sideways on the rack behind the seat. People seem to collect large amounts of cardboard and carry it in a cart behind them that is stacked 6 feet tall. Today, I saw a man carrying three rice cookers and his grocery shopping strapped to the back rack or in front of the handlebars. And sometimes, there are little chairs in the pull-carts for children or women to ride in.

Oh, and absolutely no helmets.


Elsabeth said...

My new roommate was telling me about driving in Peru, and it sounds like that. No lights or anything, and the nice cars just lay on the horn in order to get everyone else (junkers, bikers) to stop for them at the intersections.

Done much cooking yet?

e said...

hey al, good to see you made it ok. yeah the language this is crazy and overwhelming at first...but I'm sure by the end you will understand much much more...for me it was crazy, after almost 4 months in iran, i could understand almost everything, but speaking was still challenging, and then i came home and didn't think about farsi for 2 weeks, and then all of a sudden i was talking correctly without was wonderful. the conversation class should be good and good luck with the class! i can't imagine how difficult it must be. have fun and miss ya!