Becoming a cyclist

By Zhang Xinyuan Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/22 14:48:39

I am 28 years old, and I can't even do what most young children can do - ride a bike.  

Not being able to ride a bike didn't bother me until recently because I thought that bicycles were a dead transportation tool that no one used except for in tourist destinations for sightseeing. If I wanted to go somewhere, I would just call a cab or use the subway.

However, there has been a comeback of the two-wheeled transportation recently in Beijing and almost all other cities in China. Private companies in China like Mobike and Ofo have launched millions of sparkling yellow and orange share bikes into the streets. With a simple scan of the QR code on the bike, the users can bike away freely.

More of my friends started to use share bike when their destinations are nearby and not worth the trouble of calling for a cab. Sometimes taking a bike is faster than a cab due to terrible traffic congestion. Besides, riding a bike is good exercise and a perfect opportunity to keep fit for white-collar workers.

I got jealous of those who are able to ride bicycles, and I decided I must learn how to ride a bike, for convenience as well as the added benefits to my health and figure.

Driving a car in Beijing is not an easy task. You need to be really lucky and beat tens of thousands of people who want to own a car in the lottery system to get a car plate. Then as you sit comfortably in your new car, the traffic congestion is a nightmare and may leave you waiting for hours without going anywhere during rush hour. 

So one day, my husband, who also doesn't know how to ride a bike, and I walked onto the Tsinghua University campus, a perfect place to practice riding. Within a day or two, we successfully learned how to ride a bike.

But I soon found Beijing is not cyclists friendly enough. To make bikes a more practical transportation tool, the city needs more bicycle lanes that are clear of cars blocking the roadsides. This is a common problem, which leaves no safe areas for cyclists to bike along the roads with cars, buses, motorcycles and other cyclists, who at times even travel in the wrong direction.

Although my husband and I can't ride as proficiently as others, we can get the wheels going and with practice, surely cycling will be a convenient transportation tool for us.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.


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