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Marian Rosenberg October 17th 03 02:24 PM

my new bike
 
I currently live in China.

The easiest way to get around is by bicycle.

After I had been here for a few weeks I realized this and early last
October I bought a bike. I went to the local bike shop and I tried very
hard to get the cheapest bicycle in the store. However, they refused to
allow me to buy such a poor quality bicycle. "Not good enough for a
foreigner." Instead they wanted to sell me one at more than double the
price. I kept refusing and the price of the better bike kept dropping.
I wasn't trying to bargain or haggle but I succeeded.

I really know nothing about that first bike. It was an okay bike but
there wasn't really anything about it that could be called impressive.
The name on the bike, which probably means nothing to anyone, was CFoge.
I think the eventual purchase price (with basket, bell, lock and
luggage rack) was 220 rmb or about $25.

Before going on summer holiday to the US I loaned my bike to a friend.
By my standards my bicycle wasn't all that good but his bicycle was
terrible. When I came back I found that my bike had been stolen and my
friend had bought me a secondhand bike of similarly poor quality to
replace it.

Within five days of returning to China I bought a new bike. This time I
didn't go to my local bicycle store but went to one nearly a kilometer
and a half away. This store also had a pretty good selection of Chinese
Giant Bicycles. I ended up getting a Giant Athena. Not a great bike,
but head and shoulders above what I had been riding. With bell, lock,
luggage rack, and an unexplained box containing 9 liters of green tea
this bike cost 496 rmb or about $58.

I really liked that bike.

I took that bike with me to Beijing.

I went out and got lost in the countryside with that bike.

I put as much as 60 klicks on that bike inside of one day.

It was a nice bike.

Monday morning I looked out my window at the stunning blue sky. I had a
distinct lack of headache. I had a distinct lack of sinus infection. I
had a distinct lack of toothache. I showered, got dressed, and went
outside to put my new bike computer on my bike. And I found that I also
had a distinct lack of bike.

My foul attitude in response to having my bike stolen from inside the
compound did result in finally getitng my drain fixed, my phone line
fixed, and my washing machine replaced. I don't much care for being a
bitch at people but, possibly because the bitch so rarely comes out, it
is an amazingly effective tactic. However, I got told that if the
school were to consider replacing my bike there was no way they were
going to spend nearly as much money as I had spent. $60 is a lot of
money over here.

I did not want another poor quality bicycle. I had gotten used to
having a nice bicycle.

I decided instead of buying a new beautiful bike after all of the
responses I recieved along the lines of "well duh of course this would
happen" I was going to get the ugliest bike I could find that was still
a nice bike.

It took a bit of effort to find a second hand bicycle market. If it
hadn't been for the piece of paper with the instructions for the taxi
driver I never would have found it. It looked to me just like any other
place in China with a lot of bicycles parked out in front. For example,
on the street near my school entrance, there are always at least twice
as many bicycles as there are visible staff and customers in all of the
nearby shops.

Most of the bicycles at the market were nothing special. I found a few
that looked okay. However, the standard of quality in available second
hand bicycles was definitely not good. They were mostly the kind of
bikes were everything makes sound except the bell. Then, after glancing
at a few hundred bikes, I literally came to the end of the line and
found two good bikes.

One was barely distinguishable as an Emmelle bicycle under the dirt, and
the paint which had been badly applied with a heavy hand when repairing
rust damage to the fenders. The other was still almost shiny and had a
name unknown to me painted all over it in garish colors. The nearly
shiny bike had shocks and was definitely a fancier bike. But, I didn't
know if it was a better bike. So I went for the known brand name.

75 rmb. I ought to have bargained but didn't bother at that price.

They changed the ripped up seat for me for a seat which was easily the
most uncomfortable thing my ass has ever rested upon. And my ass has
rested upon some pretty uncomfortable things.

Getting the local bike store to understand I wanted this bike made good
as new was a torturous uphill battle. In the end they grudgingly
swapped the rear derailleur for a new one. However, they didn't have a
front derailleur. And they didn't have new gears. And they thought my
brakes were fine. As I am rather fond of having the bike actually stop
when I apply the brakes I had rather different opinions on the matter.
(When the old brakes were removed the rubber pads were so worn down that
the metal shoe was visible.)

So, I took the bike to the big Emmelle shop I had found a few weeks ago.
It was also a battle to convince them of what I wanted done. Didn't I
realize how much money this would cost? See you can buy a perfectly
nice new bike at that price.

But, after some effort on my part, they were finally made to understand
that I am a foreigner who suffers from minor bouts of temporary
insanity. Once they realized they could still profit from the nature of
my obvious mental afflications they were willing to take my money and
apply their skill to my bike.

I dropped the bike off at noon-ish and was told to pick it up around
5:30. They severely underestimated the amount of effort involved in
rehabilitating this bike and I got out of there around 9pm.

New rear derailleur. (Shimano)
New front derailleur. (Sunway)
New seat.
New brakes.
One new shifter cable.
New wheel center thingybits.
New rear gears. (Shimano)
New front gears. (Shimano)
New pedals.

I did get to keep the tires. I also kept the rims, which, judging by
the rust spots, are probably steel. And I still have most of the same
spokes I had when I bought the bike.

I will still need to get the seat raised as I am pretty sure my knees
shouldn't be able to bump my elbows.

I also need to find a place to put the bell and get a decent bell. The
current bell (put on this morning) intereferes with changing gears. I
admit that the terrain is such that there is absolutely no reason for me
to change gears other than because this 10 speed is my first bike with
multiple gears and I CAN.

So far the bike has cost 428 rmb. And, even as a pretty nice bike it is
still just as butt ugly as it was when I bought it.

-M


Chalo October 18th 03 04:05 AM

my new bike
 
Marian Rosenberg wrote:

snip a charming story about setting up a nice but ugly bike

I hope you have a nice and uninterrupted time with your new old bike.

I have been spending some of my most pleasant recent riding on my
ugliest old one-speed junker. I built her out of scruffy-looking old
parts wherever I was able to use them, but she's painstakingly lubed
and adjusted and she fits me very nicely. Within her limits, she's as
sweet a ride as any bike anywhere. It's nice to remember sometimes
that a bike needn't be fancy or feature-laden to deliver the goods.

Chalo Colina

William Blum October 18th 03 04:18 PM

my new bike
 
My local bike shop looked at me rather oddly when I tried to get them to do
something similar to a bike I found at a garage sale...


"Marian Rosenberg" wrote in message
...
I currently live in China.

The easiest way to get around is by bicycle.

After I had been here for a few weeks I realized this and early last
October I bought a bike. I went to the local bike shop and I tried very
hard to get the cheapest bicycle in the store. However, they refused to
allow me to buy such a poor quality bicycle. "Not good enough for a
foreigner." Instead they wanted to sell me one at more than double the
price. I kept refusing and the price of the better bike kept dropping.
I wasn't trying to bargain or haggle but I succeeded.

I really know nothing about that first bike. It was an okay bike but
there wasn't really anything about it that could be called impressive.
The name on the bike, which probably means nothing to anyone, was CFoge.
I think the eventual purchase price (with basket, bell, lock and
luggage rack) was 220 rmb or about $25.

Before going on summer holiday to the US I loaned my bike to a friend.
By my standards my bicycle wasn't all that good but his bicycle was
terrible. When I came back I found that my bike had been stolen and my
friend had bought me a secondhand bike of similarly poor quality to
replace it.

Within five days of returning to China I bought a new bike. This time I
didn't go to my local bicycle store but went to one nearly a kilometer
and a half away. This store also had a pretty good selection of Chinese
Giant Bicycles. I ended up getting a Giant Athena. Not a great bike,
but head and shoulders above what I had been riding. With bell, lock,
luggage rack, and an unexplained box containing 9 liters of green tea
this bike cost 496 rmb or about $58.

I really liked that bike.

I took that bike with me to Beijing.

I went out and got lost in the countryside with that bike.

I put as much as 60 klicks on that bike inside of one day.

It was a nice bike.

Monday morning I looked out my window at the stunning blue sky. I had a
distinct lack of headache. I had a distinct lack of sinus infection. I
had a distinct lack of toothache. I showered, got dressed, and went
outside to put my new bike computer on my bike. And I found that I also
had a distinct lack of bike.

My foul attitude in response to having my bike stolen from inside the
compound did result in finally getitng my drain fixed, my phone line
fixed, and my washing machine replaced. I don't much care for being a
bitch at people but, possibly because the bitch so rarely comes out, it
is an amazingly effective tactic. However, I got told that if the
school were to consider replacing my bike there was no way they were
going to spend nearly as much money as I had spent. $60 is a lot of
money over here.

I did not want another poor quality bicycle. I had gotten used to
having a nice bicycle.

I decided instead of buying a new beautiful bike after all of the
responses I recieved along the lines of "well duh of course this would
happen" I was going to get the ugliest bike I could find that was still
a nice bike.

It took a bit of effort to find a second hand bicycle market. If it
hadn't been for the piece of paper with the instructions for the taxi
driver I never would have found it. It looked to me just like any other
place in China with a lot of bicycles parked out in front. For example,
on the street near my school entrance, there are always at least twice
as many bicycles as there are visible staff and customers in all of the
nearby shops.

Most of the bicycles at the market were nothing special. I found a few
that looked okay. However, the standard of quality in available second
hand bicycles was definitely not good. They were mostly the kind of
bikes were everything makes sound except the bell. Then, after glancing
at a few hundred bikes, I literally came to the end of the line and
found two good bikes.

One was barely distinguishable as an Emmelle bicycle under the dirt, and
the paint which had been badly applied with a heavy hand when repairing
rust damage to the fenders. The other was still almost shiny and had a
name unknown to me painted all over it in garish colors. The nearly
shiny bike had shocks and was definitely a fancier bike. But, I didn't
know if it was a better bike. So I went for the known brand name.

75 rmb. I ought to have bargained but didn't bother at that price.

They changed the ripped up seat for me for a seat which was easily the
most uncomfortable thing my ass has ever rested upon. And my ass has
rested upon some pretty uncomfortable things.

Getting the local bike store to understand I wanted this bike made good
as new was a torturous uphill battle. In the end they grudgingly
swapped the rear derailleur for a new one. However, they didn't have a
front derailleur. And they didn't have new gears. And they thought my
brakes were fine. As I am rather fond of having the bike actually stop
when I apply the brakes I had rather different opinions on the matter.
(When the old brakes were removed the rubber pads were so worn down that
the metal shoe was visible.)

So, I took the bike to the big Emmelle shop I had found a few weeks ago.
It was also a battle to convince them of what I wanted done. Didn't I
realize how much money this would cost? See you can buy a perfectly
nice new bike at that price.

But, after some effort on my part, they were finally made to understand
that I am a foreigner who suffers from minor bouts of temporary
insanity. Once they realized they could still profit from the nature of
my obvious mental afflications they were willing to take my money and
apply their skill to my bike.

I dropped the bike off at noon-ish and was told to pick it up around
5:30. They severely underestimated the amount of effort involved in
rehabilitating this bike and I got out of there around 9pm.

New rear derailleur. (Shimano)
New front derailleur. (Sunway)
New seat.
New brakes.
One new shifter cable.
New wheel center thingybits.
New rear gears. (Shimano)
New front gears. (Shimano)
New pedals.

I did get to keep the tires. I also kept the rims, which, judging by
the rust spots, are probably steel. And I still have most of the same
spokes I had when I bought the bike.

I will still need to get the seat raised as I am pretty sure my knees
shouldn't be able to bump my elbows.

I also need to find a place to put the bell and get a decent bell. The
current bell (put on this morning) intereferes with changing gears. I
admit that the terrain is such that there is absolutely no reason for me
to change gears other than because this 10 speed is my first bike with
multiple gears and I CAN.

So far the bike has cost 428 rmb. And, even as a pretty nice bike it is
still just as butt ugly as it was when I bought it.

-M




Jacobe Hazzard October 19th 03 01:24 AM

my new bike
 
Marian Rosenberg wrote:
I currently live in China.

The easiest way to get around is by bicycle.



Do you know anything about cycling in Hong Kong? I am thinking about
studying there next summer, and the possibility of cycling to get around
comes into consideration.

Is it dangerous? I imagine it's safe enough, if everyone does it. Would I be
able to buy a bike as cheaply as the ones you describe? Should I bring with
me multiple locks? (Living in Toronto, Canada, I know a thing or two about
bikes getting stolen).

Thanks,

Adam



Marian Rosenberg October 19th 03 06:23 AM

my new bike
 
Jacobe Hazzard wrote:
Marian Rosenberg wrote:

I currently live in China.

The easiest way to get around is by bicycle.


Do you know anything about cycling in Hong Kong? I am thinking about
studying there next summer, and the possibility of cycling to get around
comes into consideration.


I have not been that far south yet. Once my reading and writing skills
are good enough that I will be able to get around without relying on my
spoken Mandarin skills ... I'll try visiting places where they speak
Cantonese.

In big cities on the mainland you usually have excellent bus service.
However, the busses lines (at least up north) don't even provide you
with pinyin so you have to be really sure of where you are going. And,
I've never seen a short distance bus that had a place to put bicycles.

But, they do allow incredible amounts of luggage if you want to try the
bicycle bag trick. And taxis are always willing (here) to have a bike
jutting out of the trunk.

The traffic will almost certainly be astonishingly insane, but, as a
large city, there will almost certainly be too many cars for them to do
much beyond honking.

I'd say, unless you are thinking about taking a bicycle _and_ ttaking
hat bicycle would mean displacing other things from your luggage
allowance, go for it.

Is it dangerous? I imagine it's safe enough, if everyone does it. Would I be
able to buy a bike as cheaply as the ones you describe? Should I bring with
me multiple locks? (Living in Toronto, Canada, I know a thing or two about
bikes getting stolen).


Getting a cheap bike should probably be easy. In Hong Kong getting a
really nice bike should also be easier than here.

You can buy locks, bringing good ones probably won't hurt.

-M


Spider1977 October 19th 03 03:00 PM

my new bike
 
Adam,

I've been to HK quite a few times. I can't recall seeing that many
bicycles while there but I'm mostly in the Kowloon or Central area. HK
and surrounds are very hilly and the public transport system is
excellent.

To quote my Lonely Planet guide

"Bicycling in Kowloon or Central would be suicidal, but in quiet areas
of the islands, in Shek O on Hong Kong Island or the New Territories, a
bike can be a nice way of getting around. The bike rental places tend to
run out early on weekends."

I'd expect bike prices in HK to be considerably more expensive than
mainland China. If you are going to be living in HK for a while,
consider hopping over the border to Shenzhen or Guangzhou to buy a bike
there. Shop around in HK first.

Spider



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