在成都骑自行车 biking around chengdu

For our last day in Chengdu we decided it would be best to explore the city on bike and we spent the day “随便开车” (randomly driving around) in order to discover the true Chengdu. We were able to borrow bikes from the hostel (4oo kuai deposit and 15 yuan fee for 24 hours) and take our time riding all over the streets and sights of Chengdu. We started off in the morning with the idea to just drive north and explore parts of the city we had not yet seen. Most of the parks, restaurants, bars, and tourist sights are located in more southern districts so we decided we needed to complete our tour of Chengdu by randomly pedaling north.

With such an illogical, unthought out plan and me involved there was bound to be some difficulty in safely cycling around Chengdu. The first problem that we ran into was my pedal was constantly slipping off and falling to the ground while I was pedaling. It always happened at the most inopportune moment, when I was exerting my full power to pedal out of the way of incoming traffic. It was extremely annoying. However, the pedal met an early demise when I quickly pedaled across the highway. The pedal fell onto the ground and I watched a speeding taxi strike it and smoosh it into the ground.

The man I was standing beside looked at me and started telling me that it was broken. I began uncontrollably laughing and reassuring him that the quality of the pedal was great and it could totally withstand the blow it had just received. My confidence was shaken, however, when one of the street cleaning ladies (after the light had changed) practically sprinted to sweep my little pedal into her trash collecting bin. Luckily, my friend was able to beat her to the pedal, pick it up, and safety bike over to me. The pedal was ruined but I was able to force it back onto the bike’s peg and had a (sort of) functioning pedal for the rest of the day.

my friend Susan beating the cleaning lady to the pedal

During this early adventure I decided I would lead us around the city. I decided that because we were just randomly driving around it really didn’t matter where we went. Of course, that led us to become lost in the city very quickly. We also pedaled so far north that we were no longer on the map that the hostel provided us with. This led me to have to ask some people under a police station sign for directions.

It led to a pretty cool experience though, as we were led back to the correct road by a woman on a motorscooter, chatting to us the entire time. I was surprised that this woman took 20 minutes out of her day to lead a pack of strangers back to the highway, but I was really grateful for her assistance as I had led my companions hopelessly astray.

After the morning adventure we headed back to the hostel to eat some lunch. We wanted to walk around the hostel and find a restaurant that we had not been to. However, we were trying to eat at a really awkward time (around 3pm) so all the restaurants that we checked out were closed and busy cleaning and preparing for the dinner service. We all thought it was sort of strange that everything was closed and returned to the hostel to eat in the hostel’s restaurant.

They serve Western and Chinese food there and we decided to try some of their Chinese food. We ended up lounging around in the lobby, eating our food for over an hour, just hanging out, chatting and having a great time. It was the perfect respite in the middle of our biking adventure.

After that, we headed back out to bike. This ended up being one of the top 5 things I have done in China so far. It was the perfect temperature, the sun was actually out (a rarity in China) and we ended up in a beautuful public park in the middle of town. I don’t know if it was the endorphins from biking for a solid six hours but it was an amazingly enjoyable experience.

Finally here is a video I made showing how crazy of an experience biking is in China. Sorry it is really shaking but I was trying to survive. Many times there is no bike lane so you are sort of forced to ride on the side of cars randomly dodging bikes, pedestrians, and other things. It is a real adventure and I think I will have no problem driving or biking in American traffic when I return home.



1 Response to “在成都骑自行车 biking around chengdu”

  1. 1 Jared
    August 24, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    I was having such Chris-isn’t-wearing-a-helmet paranoia while watching this but from the looks of it seems be the norm so now I’m not too worried about it, haha.

    Also Chengdu looks and sounds a lot like New York City.

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