So it’s always good to keep in mind while cycling to work, or in fact ever leaving your building, that given the option between death and saving face or continuing to live yor life with a possibility of some light maiming, that the Chinese will invariably choose death, preferably yours! There have been more accidents this month and close calls already, apparently the hot weather and lack of rain does nothing to improve driving skills. So far this month there has been two accidents and countless potential accidents and that’s just involving us laowais.
Manny, from work, was flipped over the top of his handlebars as a man on a scooter decided that even though he was driving at a walking pace, the idea that anyone should overtake was unbearable and proceeded to ram Manny off his bike. His girlfriend was present and of course impaling a laowai on some railings (you should have seen the damage) is not half as bad as being overtaken by someone on a bicycle.
Then there was an incident with me. I got to practise some Chinese, along the lines of, “Are you blind or just stupid!” I was quite proud of myself after the fact, the two young men on their scooter broadsided me, so after being stunned by the foreign girl giving them lip, they drove off, almost into a wall. An old Chinese lady nodded her approval at me and I was relieved I didn’t use some of my other choice Chinese words in front of her! She may have been tiny and looked like something that crawled out of a crypt that very morning but I bet she would have given my ears a boxing had I used some of the profanities in my vocabulary.
I have another new bell, as some git decided to damage my bike while it was parked up, and it’s working reasonably well. Procedure; start with the bell and then yell at them, two warnings, if they don’t move it’s their own bloody fault. Hanna and I had been cycling home the other night and a very pretty girl decided that stepping directly out in front of a cycling lane without looking would be a grand idea. And she may have been right as swerving here is a daily protocol, except the silly cow stepped out in front of three of us in line, bells and shouting ensued, and her course of action was to freeze and shout at us!!! Incredulously I swerved to the right, skimming the curb. The scooter on the far left swerved left, almost colliding with the bus queue, and Hanna… no chance, was in the middle, with nowhere to go. It was a case of hit your brakes as hard as you can and hope for the best. She bumped the girl, gently, my brakes are almost worn completely down, if it had been me she would have been alot more than bumped. She started shouting at Hanna, not a good idea. Generally shouting at an angry Welsh girl is not advisable. Hanna returned the rant and started to cycle off, smacking her again with the bike in order to suggest her moving out of the way. The rant was in Welsh but there were a few word I recognised, none of the pretty ones either.
And without us laowais to potentially maim or kill, they always have each other. Cycling home the other night many a red light was ignored. A scooter took on a bus and two very large motorbikes collided at a crossing. Shouting, screaming and yet they still drive like lunatics released from an asylum. The worst case happened about two nights ago, wandering along to get chocolate supplies during another twelve hour day I saw an e-bike (evil contraptions, basically a bicycle plus lawnmower engine) going along at high speed. There was a momentary yell and … straight over the top of a child, a boy of maybe four or five. She ran him over!!! She stopped only to pick up the box that had fallen off her bike in the collision and then drove off after a fleeting look back to see if there was any permanent damage. I was shocked, I can only assume it was mum who picked the boy up, checked his hands and feet for potential breakages and then after concluding that their was nothing wrong with these appendages, walked off with him on her hip, crying his eyes out.
So, yes, buying a bike here is easy, getting it fixed is exceptionally cheap, but keep in mind that there’s a reason for that. And if your cycling and the other persons’ options are to slow down and not kill you or drive faster and definately smash you up a bit, it’s going to be the latter!