Cycling in Beijing, China:
This is the first time I brought my Ritchey with me to Asia. I have recently (since last December or so) travelled to China, Japan and Hong Kong but each time the combinations of the weather and the logistics of the trip didn’t cooperate with bringing Ritchey along. I think each time I regretted a bit not having my Ritchey at some point, since I could probably find a few hours of riding.
This time I was going to Beijing, China, for about 5 days. The pollution forecast didn’t look good (high levels of pollution) but having learned from past experience I decided on taking Ritchey with me anyways. It worked out great!
I was a bit worried about Chinese customs but it went without any issues.
Cycling in Beijing was dicey (Manhattan downtown in rush hour with their taxis and bike messengers is quiet suburbia in comparison) – the drivers don’t give you an inch, and a lot of cars are driven by aggresive maniacs, plus there are millions (literally) of bikes, mopeds, scooters, motorized carts, motorcycles and pedestrians: one needs nerves of steel, constant attention and good urban-riding instincts to anticipate traffic around you.
It was a lot of fun nonetheless. No close calls really, just have to be super-vigilant and anticipate what happens next.
See photos below. You should have come!
It’s not fog – it’s pollution. Air Quality Index is 200 today, which is very unhealthy. Can barely breathe, and can feel it in my throat – eyes are burning. It feels similar to when we had wildfires in SoCal in 2007 and were breathing smoke – except here it’s like this all the time.
Ritchey in front of the North Gate to Forbidden City.
My Ritchey in Tiananmen Sq.
I made it to Tiananmen Square.
Crazy looking skies and mountains in the distance as I exit Beijing suburbs.
Leaving San Diego.
Arriving in Beijing Airport
In this city of 12 million everyone rides a bike. Even when it rains.
Everyone rides, even in the rain
Hipster fashion of fixed gear reached Beijing!
Beijing bikeshare system. First hour is free. Subsequent hours are 1RMB/hour, which is about 16 cents in US Dollars. The system requires registration, with 400 RMB deposit (about $70) – you can use the subway card to check bikes out.
Today AQI was much lower, about 80. Much easier to breathe.
Winding road leading to Miaofeng Shan.
I made it to the top of Miaofeng Shan.
The winding road I climbed on is seen from the top.
Ritchey at the top
View of the mountains half way down the Miaofeng climb.
This is why air is so polluted here.
Bikes and mopeds have their own (often separated) lanes.
A monk stands next to Lama Temple.
Opera House in Beijing.
a hipster on a fixie.
Bandanas are used as pollution masks.
Early slopes of Miaofeng climb.
This boy was spinning a rope of noodles just like italians spin the pizza dough.
X-Games in Beijing Olympic stadium.
Hmmm…. Brains! Good food for zombies and Chinese delicacy.