Bicycling Chengdu

I am both happy and proud that one of the first things I accomplished on moving back to Chengdu was buying a bicycle. Happy because I really do love riding a bicycle just about anywhere and proud because being a bicyclist in China is an accomplishment. You have to figure out how to buy a bicycle, manage to actually buy one, and then have the chutzpah to ride a bicycle in this:

IMG_0210 2

But while riding in the craziness of a Chinese rush hour is certainly an experience. The real pleasures come from riding down streets like this:

IMG_0185

 

Or this:

IMG_0169

Or even this:

IMG_0186

I particularly like this last photo because it captures both the darkness of some of Chengdu’s backstreets and the passion for tea and relaxation that still characterizes this city. Chengdu is subtropical, so when the trees are left alone, they grow thick and luxurious. On older side streets, the result is a thick canopy that leaves the street below in perpetual twilight. Teashops are of course best located in such places where the trees keep the hot sun off you in summer. You sit back with a cup of tea and if you’re lucky play majiang 麻将 (mahjong) with friends. The sound of shuffling tiles can often be heard far down the street.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s