31 May 2007


We are currently off our bike on doctors orders so are filling in the gap with this video shot from our bedroom and balcony. Not surprisingly we eagerly await a heavy rain to wash the dust off the house.
The price of steel is so high in China now that all the rebar is reclaimed and carted off on trucks at the end.

24 April 2007

Staying Put - for now.

All the recent media attention on the Chongqing nail house reminded us of two similar Shanghai cases just around the corner. The first one promptly disapeared the next week but the half-a-house across the road remains intact with its tennants still running their sugar cane distribution business from the kitchen.
Both these houses used to be part of streets that were demolished to make way for the high-rise development behind.

15 April 2007

Hello? I'm on a Bike

Hello?...hello? yes...I'm on a bike...hello?...what?... Yes, I'll be..hello?... home for dinner...Yes...hello?... noodles sounds goo... Oh bugger!

2 April 2007

Hard (?) Hat

In another sign of the times we spotted this guy in a wicker hardhat and realised that we haven't seen one in years. Back in the 90's these were an everyday sight but in Shanghai at least they have been largely consigned to history.

We're back!

During our recent blocked haitus the Crash Test Dummy was captured completely off his bike - and in the rain - by Sinocities.com

22 March 2007

Great Firewall of China

The Great Firewall of China has kicked in again and we are currently unable to access Blogger to post from here. It's not just us - all of China is in the same boat.
Keep an eye on the situation by reading China Herald and normal service will be resumed as soon as the net nanny lets us come out to play again.
YouTube currently remains unaffected so The Crash Test Dummy will continue to post there and this page will catch up later.

15 March 2007

Knock, Knock

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Isabel who?
Is a bell necessary on a bicycle?

To test this we edited together all the times we used our bell on the way to work today. They are:
Van pulling out, overtaking a cyclist, overtaking a cyclist, jaywalkers, pedestrian in the road, pedestrian in the road, scooters and cyclists rubbernecking a cop giving a ticket, van reversing into traffic, pedestrian in the cycle lane, scooters trying to jump a red light, overtaking a cyclist, overtaking sporty kid on a bike who can't believe a forty-something white guy is going faster than him, scooters jumping a red light, two cars and a scooter turning into oncoming traffic, scooter coming out of the sun on the wrong side of the road, a wheelchair and two more jaywalkers.

Isabel necessary on a bicycle? She certainly is!

8 March 2007

Bus Out Of Hell

We usually keep clear of buses anyway but this one was on a mission! Guangzhou city in the south of China banned the use of horns 2 years ago and we keep waiting for the same ban to be enforced in Shanghai. Who was he tooting at anyway? The road was empty apart from me and I don't think he even noticed me on the bike. The best theory we have is that his shift is nearly over and he wants to get back to that oldest established, permanently rolling, mahjong game at the depot.

3 March 2007

But Is It Art?

We think it is. Last year we had the opportunity to visit China's famous Flying Pigeon Bicycle factory in Tianjin - see photos below - and brought home this souvenir.
We fondly remember wobbling our first Flying Pigeon across Tiananmen Square in 1989 but have to admit that these days we prefer the comfort of a mountain bike (especially since our route to work frequently takes us across a building site) and the last time we lived in Beijing in '98 our office WAS a building site. So this Flying Pigeon hangs proudly on the courtyard wall waiting for a visitor brave enough to take it out for a spin.

Steel frames piled up

Frames being welded

Spokes go in

Flying Pigeon badges