shanghai cycle chic

17 Apr

We Londoners consider ourselves pretty chic cyclists. We have the Cityboys with all the gear and no idea (Ollie), the girls on Pashleys with baguettes and flowers in their baskets (me), and the gnarly old timers who swear at pedestrians and snarl at you when you pause at the traffic lights with them (George).

The Shanghainese take it to another level. Shanghai is wonderfully flat so everyone is on their bike most of the time. Initially nervous of cycling along an eight lane freeway, I quickly got with the program and realised it is the quickest and most scenic way to get around. Also, because of the traffic, nobody actually moves that fast. If you do get hit, it will likely be by a cab moving at 2kms an hour, so you should survive relatively unscathed. Dad (who lives in Shanghai), thinks the authorities are trying to phase out cyclists by making it more and more difficult for them to move freely, but I think that would be a travesty. We certainly would no longer be able to see sights like this:

Just catching a few zzzzs…

Group power nap…

While this chap’s not technically on a bicycle, the fact that he’s carrying around all those hazardous bottles of GAS merits his inclusion…

I just took these photos over a long weekend in Shanghai, but photographer Alain Delorme has seen some real crackers in his time:

I would say this just couldn’t be real, but having been to Shanghai a lot over the last couple of years, I can assure you that ANYTHING is possible.


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