Sunday, July 18, 2004

i got my bike today!!

after seeing the new bikes at the department store last sunday, and talking about doing it all week, frank and i, and our friend heather, went to Carrefour today and bought some new wheels. i am very happy with what we purchased. we could have opted for the no-gear 25$ ones, but instead we bought what would be called american-style "mountain" bikes with a triple chain-ring in the front and 6 or 7 gears in the back. 35$. plus 5$ for a helmet and a few dollars more for a lock, a bell, and some racks on either side for the back that collapse when not in use. all in all it's a pretty nice set-up and we rode them home from the store along the East Lake, right to the gate of the campus. it was great to have that freedom. i will have to post a picture or two tomorrow. right now the bikes are in our rooms, safe and sound.

about biking in general. as we have always heard, biking is big in china. so far i've seen thousands of bikes, at least. and not just people like us using them for recreation or transportation. it is almost like the way i saw boats being used in venice--for everything. so far, i've seen a bike delivering 5 5-gallon jugs of water, a bike with multiple propane tanks [think, space shuttle, with the big tanks on each side], bikes with 55-gallon drum on each side, and bikes completely loaded with hundreds of pounds of flattened cardboard, being pushed by 2 or 3 people. like everything else in china, it seems like their problem-solving process is: how can we accomplish this using one of the 7 simple machines [lever, pulley, wheel, etc]...instead of like us in america: how can we involve an internal combustion engine in this process. ha!


ps. for those of you wondering about what we will do with the bikes at the end of the summer, i guess we will give them away to a favorite student, or have a raffle during the closing program on the last day...something like that...

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