30 June 2006

Caped Crusaders

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

Hey, That Bloke's Got a Tree on His Bike

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

Vegetarians, Look Away Now

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

Free Wheeling Beer

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

Who Me, Officer?

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

Top Gun

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

The Traffic Guys

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

On Your Horse - Shanghai Style

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

Red light Means ... er ... Whatever You Want, Really

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

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.