China was known for many things 20 years ago, having tens of millions of bicycles was near the top of that list. This weekend I bought one. Having the daughter makes shorter trips a little difficult and a bike really helps. I got a local brand, Giant, 18 speed aluminum framed mountain bike with suspension. I got a child seat, front basket, and of course 2 huge locks. Bicycle theft in Shanghai is a HUGE problem. The bike is registered, I have a license for it and everything, not like that is any kind of a deterent, used bikes are a huge market and not that many are registered. Thieves here have master keys to cheaper locks, hopefully not the ones I have… I didn’t want to buy a stolen used bike, so I went for new. All the accessories cost more then the bike iteslf, after bargining I was able to get everything, including 2 helmets and licensing for double the price of the bilke. I have it parked in the apartment during the week as that is when it is more likely to be stolen if it were outside, weekends it will be under lock and key when I take it to the parks on weekends locking it up best I can to something unmoveable.
I had a bike from age 7 to 16 when I got my vehicle drivers license. I have missed riding since then. My daughter loves the bike, especially going fast, which I can do easily in top gear, even passing some mopeds and traffic jammed taxis. The Chinese rules of the road are different then any place else I have been, but with a fully developed bike culture for nearly 50 years people are much more aware and accomidating to bikes here then most places, as long as the bikes obey their own unique rules. One thing nice about Shanghai is that many side streets are mostly for bikes, secondary roads have a special lane just for bikes and mopeds, with their own signal lights, traffic cops, etc. not that they are obeyed all the time. It is nice to extend my range for shopping and exploring to distances many taxis wont go because its too close, yet too far to walk. Added bonus, exercise… with spring on the way. Lets hope it doesn’t get stolen now.