I’ve walked, taken the subway, taken the bus, and driven in Beijing. I really didn’t think I would ever ride a bicycle while here, but now I can say that I have biked in Beijing as well.
No Need For a Bicycle…
I had no plans to bike while here in Beijing because I didn’t bring a bike and did not feel like going to buy a bike when there were so many other means of transportation available. However, a friend was moving and I ended up getting her bike.
The Difficulties of Biking
So biking in Beijing is more difficult than walking (and maybe even driving too). Just like when you walk (and even when you drive), you have to constantly keep your head on a swivel. I haven’t ridden a bike in years, so I feel like I’m still getting used to it again (give me a horse any day!).
When riding, there are bike lines…kind of. There are what are supposed to be bike lanes but then they end up getting blocked by a car or blocked by a barrier or blocked by people, so then you end up on the road. Cars are pretty good about going by you (although they don’t give you a wide berth like you may get in the States).
To Bike or Not to Bike
I have found that biking is quite nice here (and a bit exhilarating). It’s especially nice on these hot, humid summer days when walking somewhere seems to take forever. By biking, I get there quicker and I get there with a breeze in my hair (well, my hair is actually covered by helmet but you get what I mean).
I’m still getting used to putting a lock around my bike (there isn’t always something around to hook it onto). It’s not like this bike is worth a lot but I do like it.
It’s also super nice since it has a basket on the front and I can put some groceries in there. Makes the walk lugging heavy grocery bags that much easier (the car makes it the easiest though).
TOTE: Bicycling can (sometimes) make a normal commute a bit more enjoyable.