Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hitching a Ride

Today I did a very Beijing thing -- I rode on the back of a bicycle.

As it's Thursday, my colleagues and I planned to play tennis after work.

There were four of us eager to hit the ball, three of them had bicycles.

One offered to let me ride on the back of his bike, but since I'd never done it before, he was worried.

But once we got downstairs to his electric bike, he asked me if I wanted to try and I said, "Why not?"

I slung my bags and tennis racquet on my shoulders, sat down on the bike, and then used my right arm to hold onto his waist, my left hand on him as well to steady myself.

When he started off I felt unbalanced and he asked if things were OK. I steadied myself, and soon realized it wasn't too difficult. I crossed my ankles and kind of held them forward a bit so my feet wouldn't hit the spokes, as I had seen other girls do that.

An electric bike can go fast, but he went at a steady pace.

At first it was a bit unnerving seeing a car following behind us. But the view from the back of the bicycle was fantastic.

You definitely see the city -- or in my case -- the neighbourhood from a different perspective. Riding at the back was a slower pace than a car, so you could get a lingering look at everything.

We passed through a hutong area where some people were selling vegetables like leeks, a baby with split pants playing with his mother, a dog wandering around, the sweet smells of slow roasted fatty pork... then the public washrooms...

I tried not to hold onto my colleague too much, and as I grew more comfortable with sitting there, I lessened my clutch. I'm sure he appreciated that.

And in about 10 minutes our ride to the tennis court was over.

I wouldn't say I'm a pro, but have definitely got the hang of riding on a bike. Can't wait to hitch a ride again soon.


Jason said...

Cool. I contemplated hitching a ride on a motorcycle when I was stuck in Shanghai on my way to the airport. Then I realized I'd need a sidecar for all of my luggage.

ks said...

be careful not to touch the exhaust pipe with you leg. again it is not very safe.