The classic Chinese bike...the flying pigeon. Complete with hand brakes (tubing...not cable like most hand brakes), padlock, fenders, and one speed, itís perfect for the pool table flats of Beijing China. Retail cost is about $40. You can add a baby seat to the frame between the handlebars and the saddle and a rack on the back (like the one shown) and a family of three has a mode of transport. Iím serious...this does happen in reality.
Iíve seen the pigeon with a frame and a 55 gallon drum attached to the frame. They haul and heat yams and sell them on the sidewalk. The parking lot attendant has a box on the side and paints his a bright yellow.
The Chinese equivalent to the family pickup. Three wheels, single speed, and hand brake, you can fit a family of three on one of these. The boss bought one of these to tote his family of three kids on Sundays when his driver is off.
The ultimate Chinese workhorse. Equipped similarly to the previous photo, it has a heavy duty brake. Most of the time, you see these in a rusted state, flat tire(s), and chain sagging about three to four inches. Itís not uncommon to see this one hauling people, bikes, or stacked with junk bigger than the driver. Some folks even attach gasoline engines to them so they donít have to pedal. Beijing outlawed trucks, except busses, between the hours of 08:00 and 22:00. This created the need for something to transport goods to the various businesses including ours. Frankly, in China, if you have a bike, you can get a job doing something.
The next four photos are adaptations of the previous photo.
To me, this is the scary one. These suckers haul garbage...like restaurant waste thatís probably going to end up as animal slop. They reek to high-heaven. It would be the equivalent to riding on the back of a garbage truck. Even scarier is that Iíve seen people riding on the bed behind the garbage container...fragrant to say the least.
Believe it or not, this is a kitchen. Inside, you will find a large diameter hotplate over a charcoal. The stove cooks a pancake, egg (I get 2), pepper, pepper sauce (choice of 3-4 different saucesÖI take the all)..cilantro, green onion, and a rice cake. I call it a "gut bomb"...costs about a quarter...a real gut bomb...bring your tabasco sauce.
A food hauler...
An upscale bicycle repair shop. The basic ones are just a stool, air pump, wrench, and rubber for patching tires used by someone who deemed that this area on the sidewalk was a perfect spot for a bicycle shop. This has an electric compressor and storage.
The classic rickshaw. Like a taxi, they are commonly found at most tourist traps. Unlike a taxi, you negotiate your fare up front as there are no standard rates. FYI, the original rickshaw with a human pulling the cart on foot was banned by the Chinese government.
The upscale bicycle...an electric with a top speed of 12 miles per hour and a range of up to 30 miles...nope, Iím over the weight capacity of 160 pounds. Retail cost of about $300.
Bluelou...the uneasy rider on Kilowatts. For those wondering, I sold Kilowatts in 2007. It's hard to sell a friend but I had little time to ride when he was at home and I was working elsewhere. He went to a friend of the family.
A classic...what dissertation about bicycles would be complete without my classic Screaming Yellow Banana? It just glistens! I still have SYB and I ride whenever I'm home.
Flat Stanley Visits China?