Stuff I Know

Just stuff by me about me and my life, such as it is.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Things I Have Learned ...

... Riding a bicycle in Beijing.

  • You shouldn't look at the girls in skirts riding the opposite direction.
  • You shouldn't look at the girls in skirts walking, either. (All the girls are just too distracting.)
  • Don't panic! It may feel disconcerting with all those people riding so close to you, but they are professionals at it.
  • Even with that taxi about to clip your handlebars or in the process of cutting you off, don't panic!
  • The lights, the police blowing whistles and the guys waving flags aren't very effective when it comes to traffic control. The seem to be looked on more as guidelines, really.
  • That road you just passed that looked like the one you wanted, more than likely was.
  • Your personal space on a bicycle in Beijing extends only as far as your handlebars and front and rear tires. And sometimes not even that far.
  • It may all feel and look dangerous, but it all seems to work pretty well, actually.
  • Bicycle lanes are a good thing to have, even if you do have to share them with cars both parked and moving.
  • The people on electric bicycles seem to have a bit of a superiority complex over people on regular bicycles, as evidenced by the frequent use of their fancy electric horns.
  • A foreigner on a bicycle apparently isn't such a big deal in Beijing. (Compare this with Korea where even in bigger cities, parents in cars will point you out to their children as they pass.)
  • A squeaky bicycle may seem annoying at first but it lets others know you are coming up on them. Always a good thing when you are not sure of the proper "cutting off" etiquette.

All in all it wasn't a bad experience. My years of dodging road traffic served me well in Beijing. It was good to get on a bike again. Even a bike like that.



At 8:24 AM, Blogger SuzieQ501 said...

I can't wait to hear about your biking experience in Vietnam...are you going there?


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