Monday, 5 July 2010

(x-treme) Biking in beijing

“There are nine million bicycles in Beijing / That's a fact” (Katie Melua)

Sounds pretty nice, isn’t it? But the truth is as tasty as appealing as juicy BigMac left for a day in the sun on the beach. Some time ago (when France and Italy were having football teams), Beijing was a bike city, but now, this is just a nice memory and a great subject for making nice t-shirts with panda’s on bikes. From the 9 mil, there probably left less than half, not to say less.
Now, the city belongs to cars, many cars, expensive cars, chinese, german, french, black, with dark windows, blinkysh logos and weird names (Wolkswagen Santana?!). The cars are slowly and sadly suffocating the city, the scarce parking lots and the pedestrian areas.

I’m trying not to be very pessimistic, but the future smells at smog and is quite gray. Biking is a courage and skill test, or the perfect way to get some adrenaline flowing in your veins.
My dormant reflexes (made in Bucharest) were required to cross the street as a pedestrian, as if you don’t have a car, you have no priority… in no situation :))

The bike lanes are generous and well protected (and a little deserted), but you get back to reality when a cab passes in a hurry next to you, or when the inevitable crossroads gets in front of you :) Still, the number of accidents is not as big as expected, as car drivers are careful, especially if they have an expensive car, and you are large enough ;)
The way to take for a date your girlfriend
My conclusion about biking (as a foreigner) in Beijing:
“To cross the street you have to grow balls … inside a car, a big car. But, don’t forget that the police will always have bigger balls.”

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