Shanghai BicycleShanghai, Spring 2012
Those of you who kept up with my blog last semester are aware that traffic in China is like a fast moving stream of involunatry manslaughter waiting to happen and that entering this stream is accepting that cars are the leading cause of death for ages 15-45 (according to a quick google search) and you’re ok with that. That being said, I got a bike ya’ll!
This is Cranky the Bike. I call her that because sometimes she makes horrible cranking sounds that can be heard even in heavy traffic.
Cranky was given to me by my host mother who felt it would be much more convenient for me than having to walk everywhere. As someone who has seen Chinese rush hour, I immediately turned down her offer . What I soon learned about my host mother though is that she does not take no for an answer. When she thinks something will be better for me she makes sure that it happens and that is exactly what happened with Cranky. I was asked if I would go shopping with her so I could help carry home groceries so ofcourse I agreed. Only we weren’t walking there, it was just a trick to get me on a bike and out in traffic. She’s a clever one , my host mother. I didn’t even carry any groceries back because she said they were too heavy for me.
It all worked out for the best though because now I ride Cranky everywhere and it cuts down on all my travel time. I’ve had very few incidents of the crashing into others nature and none that were serious so I feel pretty good about bicycling here. Most days go something like this.
As you can see from above, I’m very proud of Cranky, even if she does have some flaws.
Why do I love Cranky despite the fact that she is undoubtedly trash heap material? Because Cranky will never get stolen. Here in China, bikes are such a hot commodity that unless you are just incredibly lucky, if you have a nice bike, it will get stolen. Maybe not for two or three years but eventually it will happen. I think we can all agree that nobody wants Cranky except for me so I don’t have to worry about that. If you are worried though you can pay to park your bike in a supervised area so nobody takes it. If you think this is unneccesary than maybe I should mention how yesterday I saw a man using a hand saw to cut through a bike chain.
Is biking in China dangerous? Yah, it probably is but one of the rerasons I signed up for a homestay this semester was that I wanted to experience a typical Shanghai lifestyle and riding a bike is a big part of that.
Cranky got a new bike pedal today!
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