5 December 2006
1 December 2006
8 November 2006
A blue Mazda jumps the lights. He gets caught mid-crossing and makes his second mistake - leaving a 4 foot gap between him and the bus in front. 22 bicycles and scooters (count 'em) squeeze through before he gets a chance to move again. The moral: never give a cyclist an even break.
17 October 2006
13 October 2006
As The Crash Test Dummy is still off bikes for a few more days we thought we'd take the opportunity to blog this clip of tai chi practice in the local park.
Very beautiful, very graceful.
A friend of ours tried this in a park in London once and nearly got arrested.
9 October 2006
Thanks to a torn ligament The Crash Test Dummy is off games (and bicycles) for a few days. We could say we were para-gliding or skydiving but actually we were playing laser tag with Wingman (see sidebar photo page link) and his friends - damn, those five year olds make small targets!
Our having to work from home was compensated, however, by finding our photo on the comingsoon.net website. We spent a fun couple of days as a film extra on The Painted Veil last year. The film, with Edward Norton and Naomi Watts is due out in December and we will be very disappointed if The Crash Test Dummy's credit doesn't read "Blurry Balding Guy in Tux".
8 October 2006
Bus stops. I hate bus stops.
The buses have to cut across the bike lane then load and unload passengers into it (and anyway, on this occasion, spot the car parked in the cycle lane / bus stop.
So do you get caught up in all that - or do you overtake the bus on the outside, dodge the 3 girls jaywalking past a police car, get cut up by a red moped, get squeezed between said cop car and a black sedan while trying to get back into the cycle lane then get squeezed between the next bus and a taxi - only to have the cycle lane vanish at the next bottleneck anyway?
3 October 2006
Public spaces in China get used for all sorts of groups in the mornings doing tai chi, fan dancing, wushu, ballroom dancing and drumming.
These gals have usually just packed up as I pass their rehearsal space in front of a department store but one day last week
Wingman's school bus came early so I got a head start and caught their last few bars.
29 September 2006
Ah, yes - adrenalin. It works twice as fast as caffeine and it's cheaper than anything they sell in Starbucks. You get plenty of it on a Shanghai bicycle commute to make sure you're fully awake by the time you reach the office.
Did you see that taxi coming? No, nor did I.
26 September 2006
21 September 2006
I often see guys on mopeds delivering computer equipment. But what happens if they have one box too many?
Here, our delivery guy just can't quite fit himself plus all 3 boxes on the bike so heputs 2 boxes on the bike, puts the bike on
a delivery trike then adds himself and the 3rd box to the trike. Presumably he needs the moped to get back again.
Trike guy is game at the start but soon hits a gradient and computer guy has to take a walk.
6 September 2006
More like rain at last! Shanghai summers can be hot and sticky but they are usually punctuated by weekly thunderstorms which clear the air for a bit and cool things down. This year it hasn't really rained for weeks so today's downpour is a relief.
Perhaps now we can get the temperature back below 90!In terms of rain capes I count 22 blue, 8 red, 5 yellow, 2 green and a girl in a wet t-shirt (just watch those youtube stats soar!)
30 August 2006
So anyway, I was coming up behind this tricycle loaded up with bamboo scaffolding and thinking "well, there goes somebody's neighborhood" but as I passed him I noticed the trike is so overloaded that the poor guy can't even ride it. There's no room on the trike so he's having to push - in fact, that front tyre isn't even touching the ground.
17 August 2006
OK, try to stay with me here.
In China we drive on the right. So at a crossroads junction, when the lights change, the traffic coming towards you but wanting
to turn left will pass you on the left, wait for a gap and then turn left - right?
Wrong! What actually happens is the traffic turning left sees the oncoming cars and bikes and heads straight across their path, passing as many as possible on the right, forcing oncoming traffic into
Wow, lucky there's a policeman at this junction to keep everyone in line!
8 August 2006
Yes it's too darn hot. Finally, Shanghai's pollution encrusted palm trees don't look out of place.
If all else fails, get your girlfriend to sit on the back of your bicycle with a parasol.
The Crash Test Dummy, lacking one of these, is taking the (probably cheaper) option and going to work in a cab most days until the temperature drops below 30 again.
31 July 2006
30 June 2006
Now that summer is here, Shanghai's caped crusaders fly through the city on mopeds and bicycles.And what are they crusading for? White skin.Tans are a no-no for most of the city's women and the cosmetics industry is making a killing with skin whitening creams.For those looking to join the trend, capes accessorize well with gloves and hats. Add shades for that extra cool look.
28 June 2006
In the mid 1990's Shanghai was home to 80% of the world's cranes. In the late 1990's many of the high-rise office and apartment blocks that they built stood empty. Now, however, they are full, and this guy on the bike proves it. He's one of hundreds in the city delivering indoor plants to decorate once empty lobbies, homes and offices.
23 June 2006
The Crash Test Dummy has been traveling this week so this post comes from a car on the Nanjing Expressway.Pork is the main meat in Chinese food and ifyou ever wondered how it gets to the kitchen, here's your answer.
Unfortunately, as it all ends up chopped into wok-size pieces, we have all this pork traveling around the country but you still can't get a decent bacon sandwich here for love nor money.
19 June 2006
Coming down off this Suzhou Creek bridge is the only free-wheeling section of my ride. With the mess of traffic at the bottom it's best to hold back a bit - even more so if you're carrying a heavy load balanced on the back of your bike. Sixty full bottles of beer, for example.
Also, mentioning "free" and "beer" seems to boost my youtube stats. I can't think why but here goes, once more for luck - Free! Beer! :-)
16 June 2006
As with the Traffic assistants, Shanghai's police do as good as they can under the circumstances.
Here's a typical dilemma: our passing cop spots a moped vegetable delivery guy, two cyclists and the jaywalker in the white dress all crossing illegally. He can't nab them all so he chooses the girl because she's ignored both a pedestrian crossing AND a footbridge to walk straight across this busy junction. Of course, trying to brush him off doesn't do her any favours at all!
13 June 2006
Continuing our series of alternative head-gear, we present a cool dude in a Chinese fighter pilot's helmet.
We have to admit, The Crash Test Dummy has seen these for sale and has been tempted to get one. We're just not sure how cool it would look on a mountain bike - and we don't want Wingman to get jealous.
12 June 2006
Shanghai's traffic guys do as good a job as they can under the circumstances. They're fighting against a traffic system that gives a green light to both vehicles and pedestrians at the same time and a driving public that thinks the rules don't apply to them.
Mind you, we'll all be happier once they look at the road before waving you out. I have seen them happily usher bikes and pedestrians into the path of oncoming buses that have jumped the lights - more than once.
8 June 2006
Entrepreneurism in action! Spot the lady wearing a snazzy velvet maroon riding hat (on the red moped). This is a common sight in Shanghai where (I presume) a Chinese manufacturer of riding hats for export has created a local market for the same product. They're popular with both men and women and this lady sports the maroon model with a visor.
Ironically, in Chinese, the expression "I'm on my way" translates more literally as "I'm coming on horseback" (wo ma shang lai).
5 June 2006
Hey guys, it's red. I said it's a RED light. It's re... Oh, what the hell. Nobody's listening to me, anyway.
You don't have to spend long on a bike in China to realize that while the car drivers are far from perfect it's the bicycles, mopeds and pedestrians that break most of the rules.
I count 11 cyclists jumping this red light.
1 June 2006
Rainy day today so I wimped out and took a cab to work. The great Chinese rain cape does a good job but in heavy downpours all the rain collects in the sheet that stretches over the handlebars. This results in cycling with a small pond in your
lap - so not very conducive to filming.
The guys crossing the road with a tricycle are carrying bamboo scaffold poles. Not as popular here as they are in Hong Kong, bamboo is used only on low rise projects in Shanghai. Whole blocks will disappear behind it and a week or two later it is removed to reveal either repainted houses or an empty plot of land.