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Bicycling in Beijing

Upon arriving in China, two things were immediately apparent regarding traffic: pedestrians do not have the right of way, and the drivers drive like lunatics! Regardless, one afternoon I rented a bicycle and embarked on a 30-mile exploration journey in Beijing.

My wheels: a single-speed mountain bike made by Giant. About 30 pounds, it nevertheless looked decidedly more upscale than the old beat-up clunkers dominating the roadways, and rolled great. It cost about US$6/day to rent from the New Otani Hotel.

Not having a map or really knowing wherere anything was, I decided to stick with just a couple of major roads. First I headed east and then north to the Worker’s Stadium, after which I retraced my steps, went west, past Tiananmen Sguare, before heading back to the hotel.

One would think that with the drivers and traffic laws, it would feel very intimidating to try to bike through a big city in China, but it didn’t feel that way at all. In fact, bike lanes are so wide and there are so many bicyclists, all a new cyclist has to do is fall in line and join in the fun.

Bike parts being sold on the streets of Beijing.
I rented a bicycle for about 50 RMB (US$6)/day and biked through Beijing, often following interesting vehicles like this whatdoyacallit.
That's me.  I snapped this picture since the Porsche 968 in the background was literally the only 2-door car I saw in all of China!
Now following trees on trikes...
The Giant one-speed rental mountain bike with Mao in front of Tiananmen Square.
Navigating the streets with buses inches away really wasn't all that bad!
Some people rode electric bicycles like this one featured on a billboard in Suzhou.