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.


Princess Haiku said...

Hi Suzie,
I like that movie too. In my college days I rode my bike everywhere in Berkeley. I loved to wing down hills and through fog. It is kind of like having your very own personal Pegasus.

take care

d. chedwick bryant said...

This is so strange--seeing the top photo--Last night I had a dream where I had to transport my cats a long distance and all I had was a bicycle. One was nice about it and cooperated. the other one did not--I got way too much exercise in that dream!

Heather said...

I ride a giant, too, (I'm in Shandong Province.) I bought a light I can clip onto the handlebars because I was afraid to ride in the dark. My first bike in China was a "Catching Wind Bird" brand. It was "borrowed".

Thanks for mentioning "Beijing Bicycle". I had forgotten the name of the movie. I saw it a year or two before moving to China, back when the thought of living in China never crossed my mind. When I found out I was moving to China, the very first thought I had was of that movie!


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