Thursday, 8 November 2007
Beijing Bicycles - part I
Beijing Bicycles have a basket, a bell, one-speed and no light.
Some don't have a bell.
In Beijing, all bicycles are grey, or black or rusty brown. Some are painted to be easier found in the bike parking area.
I love to ride my bicycle through Beijing. It has a basket, a bell, one-speed and no light. It is a grey 'Giant', a deluxe bike (around 600 yuan, less than 60 Euro). When I am riding around and make a stop here and there, I am always happy to find it still locked at the same place - like a horse waiting outside the saloon.
The frame is a little too narrow for me and makes me sit straight - like on a horse.
When it has not enough air, I stop at the bicycle repair shop down the street. My ayi pays 1 mao per wheel. I pay 1 yuan for two wheels. So I get overcharged (five times) but I don't mind.
I like to ride my bike and discover the streets from a different angle (than from the backseat of a black limousine). I feel more connected to the city and the people. I feel independent (from any driver) and free.
I doubt that there are 9 million bicycles in Beijing. Sometimes, when I want to have a bicycle in the foreground of a picture, I have to wait a while until one passes.
Btw, there is a movie called Beijing Bicycle. The film revolves around a young man from the countryside who came to Beijing to seek work. He finds a job with a courier company, which assigns him a brand-new bicycle. After it is stolen and he gets fired, this stubborn boy goes on a search for his missing bicycle.