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Cycling (1 Viewer)

[FONT=&#23435] I unlock my bike, a big black iron horse, old even for here and wipe the dust off the seat. I lift it up and kick back the heavy metal stand then wheel it out ready for today’s adventure. It's unseasonably warm and the sky is clear which is unusual for Beijing where it's usually choked up with sickly, yellow smog. I climb onto the saddle and immediately feel a sense of freedom, more at home on my bicycle than on my own legs. The excitement of a new trip and prospect of the air flowing through my hair takes me over for a moment, then I get back to concentrating on where I'm going.[/FONT]​
[FONT=&#23435] Cycling here requires concentration, people come from all direction and the rules of the road are only mildly adhered to. I pass the five kuai kebab stand on my right and then the bicycle shed which I stopped using once I found out they'd been overcharging me. I negotiate the cramped car park and cycle past the friendly fruit guy with his big green coat and yellowing teeth. Then I turn left[/FONT][FONT=&#23435], Vantone shopping centre and office complex towers above me shining brightly in the sun and backed by a beautiful blue sky. I carry on past the jian bing stall where I buy my favourite Beijing food,past the DVD shop blasting music into the street and then onto the main road. [/FONT]​
[FONT=&#23435]It's fairly busy, as it always is in Beijing, but I still feel a sense of freedom. When I cross the bridge traversing the highway I am able to see for miles in either direction as cars speed by underneath. I cycle past men straining as they propel their heavy carts onwards and onwards, past old ladies and young girls, being careful of the old ladies, experience guiding me. [/FONT]​
[FONT=&#23435] There's a bus stop just in front of this junction which always creates a traffic jam. The dilemma confronts me as I see a bus indicating to pull in, do I go inside or outside? I'll have to go fast if I want to go inside and there's the possibility of knocking someone down as they hop off the bus, but on the other hand if I go outside, there's the chance I’ll be squashed between a car and bus. I decide to go inside and make it past unscathed. [/FONT]​
[FONT=&#23435]I come to a halt at the junction, getting into position like a formula one driver, other cyclists wait poised in front and beside me. The junction man stands with his flag and whistle ready to enforce the law mercilessly on anybody reckless enough to go before the green light. With a big effort I get my heavy machine moving again. I ignore the cars trying to cross in front, feeling reckless, but as I reach the other side of the junction a white car speeds towards me and just manages to slow down and give way and I am left feeling foolish for taking the chance.[/FONT]​
[FONT=&#23435] I keep going and come up behind an old man with two bird cages on the back of his bike. I decide to take a few pictures, so one handedly I take my camera out of my bag and take a few photos whilst negotiating the road. I get two or three good shots before I put the camera back in the bag and pass him. [/FONT]​
[FONT=&#23435]Beihai lake is on both sides of the road and the sun is shining brightly on the water, the white stupa on the left is lit up like a beacon. I reach the majestic walls of the Forbidden City, a relic from another era and stop at the junction. A little girl perched on the back of her mother's bike looks at me with wide eyed wonder, my blonde hair and blue eyes an unfamiliar sight. [/FONT]​
[FONT=&#23435]The lights change and I turn left heading into the quieter streets around Jingshan park. Trees line the side of the road and there is less traffic here. I reach Pinganli Xidajie one of Beijings main arteries and a road I know well. I've lived at three different points along it in my short time here. [/FONT]​
[FONT=&#23435]I pass Houhai lake with its rickshaw drivers and tourists, and the Starbucks where I like to sit and read in the summer and stop at the pedestrian crossing opposite Nan Luo Gu Xiang. I wait for the lights to turn red before I cycle across the road, breathing a sigh of relief as I reach the familiar and relatively peaceful hutong. However, the relief is short lived as cycling here requires just as much attention as on the main road, cars, cyclists and pedestrians clog the narrow thoroughfare and dart across it unexpectedly from every direction. There are lots of foreigners here due to the trendy cafes and restaurants and though I've only been in Beijing a short time but it has changed a lot. New bars and shops have opened and other ones have closed. What used to be a peaceful place to read, has now become just another busy shopping street and night spot. Workmen work in the gutted remains of shops, preparing the space for someone else to try and fulfill their dream whilst simultaneously throwing the previous owner’s onto the skip amd a group of old men crowd around a game of Chinese chess, wizened old faces full of concentration, wiling away the long hours. [/FONT]​
[FONT=&#23435]I reach Gulou Dongdajie and cross the street into another hutong which is less developed than Nan Luo Gu Xiang and less of a tourist trap. A big black Audi barges past and I stop to make room for it beside another cyclist as two children play on the ground beside us under the watchful eye of an aging hooker. The sun still shines and in the sheltered hutong it’s warm so I stop to take off my heavy winter coat, aware that spring is approaching and the harsh winter is coming to an end. I stuff it into the basket on the front of my bike as I notice bits of old firecrackers left over from Chinese New Year. [/FONT]​
[FONT=&#23435]The hutong is made up of the traditional low grey buildings and opens out occasionally to make room for a hotel, a police office, or a school. This is the real Beijing, the hustle and bustle of the hutong fills your senses. Scenes from another era can be glimpsed at inside the entrances to faded old courtyards and bicycles stand rusting against crumbling walls, propped up by old clay bricks. [/FONT]​
[FONT=&#23435]I turn right and head east towards Yong He Gong past restaurants and food stalls then cross over the road onto College street where a colourful and ornate Chinese gate greets me. In ancient times this street held the college where the entrance examination for government positions was taken. It is a street with a long history, like many in this city. It's also pleasantly free from traffic and it's wide boulevard is a relief after the narrow hutongs. [/FONT]​
[FONT=&#23435]I turn right up the steep slope leading to the teahouse and park my bike just in front. Inside it is dark and my eyes take a while to adjust. I greet the hostess and sit down in my usual seat then look out onto the brightly lit street I've just been cycling on. My muscles feel warm and well used and my heart beats slightly faster than usual.[/FONT]​


Senior Member
see my reply to another of your many posts... same applies to all of your writing i've seen so far...

love and hugs, maia


Senior Member
I kinda like what you are trying to do her, relating the events of your everyday life (which, in every sense, is very different from the everdyday life of many of the members of this forum). And though I do like what I read, in terms of content, I think your form is a bit dry. It's a bit wordy at times, but I think that the main problem is an overuse of the word "I." Maybe try to change around some of the sentences that begin with "I" to make it more interesting? As it is, it sort of reads like an essay written for school after coming back from vacation. Don't give up on it though! It's always interesting to read about life in other cultures!