Bicycling, Beijing - Shanghai, part 3

by Sep 16, 2011
by Amirah Shahid Sep 16, 2011



I’m just wrapping up my second full week of cycling. At this point, I’m writing from Huian: More than half way to Shanghai! I have settled into the daily routine of getting up and riding all day. The days are going by much faster now that my mind and body know what to expect. I am having an easier time dealing with non-English speakers and know which translated phrases will help me the most.

Road conditions continue to be well maintained. Topography has varied this week as I have ridden through corn fields, rice fields, mountainous regions, and urban centers. I’ve been noticing the frequency of new developments in unexpected areas—seemingly in the middle of nowhere. I’ve also been noticing how people use bike lanes and road shoulders as a place to dry all kinds of materials. I’ve seen poplar tree bark, nuts, branches, corn, and lotus leaves in the middle of my path all week.

The number of children riding with their parents is also astonishing. I rarely see children under the age of 5 on San Francisco bike paths. This surprises me because the SF bike paths are separated from the road, very well maintained, and people in the neighborhood tend to have families with an active life style. This week, I’ve seen bikes loaded with up to three children (in addition to the adult) riding along national roadways. The children are all very well behaved and know how to position themselves on the bike. With so many children being transported on bicycles, I have not seen any children being pushed in strollers—something very common in US cities.

I have one more week until I arrive in Shanghai. I am hoping the weather continues hold up and be on my side. It has been mostly cloudy with only a few moments of rain. Although the gray can get a bit gloomy, I appreciate the way it keeps the temperature down. I’m anticipating increased traffic and worse air pollution as I move towards the cities sprawling from Shanghai. I have heard that Beijing traffic in and out of the city is worse than Shanghai’s. I hope that the fact that I made it out of Beijing with little problems and in one piece means I’ll survive the greater Shanghai region.

Thanks for following along. Please check the project blog for additional images and daily updates: www.cycle-china.com. I encourage you to post comments there to ask questions and communicate with myself and others interested in bicycle infrastructure in China.

Several layers of landscape-industrial+agriculture+roadside

A cow grazes on willows and grass as bikes and cars zoom past it

Lotus leaves drying on the side of the road

Bikes are a popular way to get to roadside convenience stores/restaurants since may of the roads are being torn up -making them inaccessible to cars-to make way for new development

A market is too crowded to ride through. These women walk their bikes through the crowds until they reach a more rideable bike lane.

Ornamental roof details at the Confucius Temple

Foldable bikes are a popular item at a store selling new bikes. However, most bikes I’ve seen on the street are not brand new, but at least 10 years old.

A modern electric bike in the historic old town of Qufu

The tricycle is a common modification of the bicycle in Suqian. The three wheels make it easier to haul bigger loads

Qufu street crossing


Amirah Shahid

Amirah Shahid, YouthLA Volunteer, landscape designer.

2 discussions
  1. aws says:

    have a good weekend

  2. jia, chong jun-jia vivian says:

    wow so happy to see ur trip!~
    hope that high school teacher with the email is helpful
    best wishes!
    have a nice trip

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Amirah Shahid

Amirah Shahid, YouthLA Volunteer, landscape designer.

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