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

23 February 2007

Chickens on a Scooter

Vegetarians and squeamish readers of this blog should once again avert their eyes.
Here in Asia we live by one motto: never buy a dead chicken. The result is that live chickens get moved around on the backs of trucks, trikes, scooters and bicycles. These guys are headed for the market beyond that bridge at the end of the road and that chicken on the top knows it. Hear him make a last request for a blindfold - or was that a Double Happiness cigarette?

18 February 2007

Up In Smoke

Midnight at Chinese New Year on The Crash Test Dummy's street in Shanghai. It's actually a clear night - all that haze is the smoke of tens of thousands of fireworks drifting across the city. Incredibly Wingman actually slept through all this.

13 February 2007

The New Year Build Up

Chinese New Year is just around the corner and the build up to the big bang on saturday night has begun as people just can't wait to make a noise.
The first set of firecrackers goes off unseen down a side alley but the second lot was right by our ear. That lady in the red coat wasn't too pleased, I can tell you.

9 February 2007

There Goes the Neighbourhood

This large chinese character painted on a building near our house is a common sight in all Chinese cities but especially in the fast changing ones in the east of the country. It means "take apart" and roughly translates here as "due for demolition". There goes the neighbourhood - literally. The local fruit stall seems to be holding out for now. We'll see how long she lasts.

5 February 2007


Nobody misses a good drying day in Shanghai. In winter, clothes are dried, bedding is aired - and foodstuffs are cured. Spot the row of sausages drying above the washing. Harder to spot is the bundle of ducks hanging by the lamppost. Cycling around I also see fish, beef and pork swinging gently in the pollution.

31 January 2007

It's All Gone "Mythbusters"

As the traffic here worsens, concerned parents find new ways to protect their kids on the backs of their bikes.
This man clearly gets Discovery Channel and has built a Mythbusters-style blast screen to protect other road users in case his child explodes.
Adam and Jamie would be proud.