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My New Bike



 
 
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  #1  
Old June 7th 05, 10:49 AM
brucianna
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Default My New Bike

A year after finishing university I went to China to teach English.
For one year, only one year, no longer than one year, really only ten
months, I can do it. Then I'll go home. Stay home.

I'll be starting my fourth year in September.

After only 6 weeks in China I _needed_ a bike. I couldn't speak the
language. Couldn't navigate the bus system. Wasn't fit enough to walk
as far as I wanted to. And my taxi skills were limited to getting
home.

I fell in love with that bike. It wasn't a bad bike. The price tag
was 498 rmb (about $62). I wanted the 200 rmb (about $25) bike. This
was presumed to be a bargaining tactic. I got it for 220 rmb (about
$28).

Summer 2003, while I was in the US, it was stolen.

The person who I loaned it to replaced it with a secondhand bike of
such incredibly high quality that, 4 months of sitting outside later,
with the key in the lock, no one had taken it.

My next bike - 350 rmb ($46) - was a Giant Athena.
http://www.giantbicycles.com/ch/030....003&model=6661
It lasted slightly more than one month before being stolen from inside
the school compound.

Bicycle number 3 was a secondhand Emelle that I paid $12 for. Then I
took it to the Emelle shop and had everything except the frame
replaced. It still looked like I had paid $12 for it. But it rode
like a new $70 bike.

I gave it away when I moved from Hebei to Hainan.

While in the states January 2004 I picked up a free Japanese bike from
a recycling center. It was part of my luggage on the February flight
back to China. I had it repaired and spiffed up. I loved it as much
or more than I had loved that first bike in Shijiazhuang. This was my
first bike with drop bars.

Bike 4 was stolen after one month. Which was how I discovered that the
place my employers had told me was a designated parking area didn't
actually have a designated parking guard.

I test drove some of the local bikes but couldn't find anything to
match the stolen Japanese bike. And as it was approaching my first
summer in the tropics, soon, I didn't want to bicycle anyways.

In September 2004 I bought a Merida F-701. This is a Chinese bike
company. The bike cost my boss 700 rmb ($88). It was a contract
signing bonus thingy.

I had Bike 5 for nearly four months. I got careless enough to think
that three locks (one of them a chain) were a substitute for a proper
parking place. It disappeared when I was paying my phone bill.

And now ... after all that background ... we finally get to the point
of this message.

My New Bike - #6

http://www.giantbicycles.com/ch/030....002&model=6636

Giant Speeder X

Including bicycle computer, and water bottle cage it cost me 816 rmb
($100). I bought it yesterday.

Current top speed is 32 kph. Which given that I've got traffic,
Chinese roads, and my general bad physical condition to deal with is
pretty impressive. Average speed is 14 kph. I've put about 25
kilometers on it since I bought it yesterday evening.

It's a bit too early to say if it really is love or just infatuation.


It seems to be a pretty good bike. As nice or nicer than the Merida.
I didn't buy a new Merida because the "non bargainable" price was
significantly cheaper when a Chinese friend asked how much.

I'm going home to the US in a little more than a month. I'll be there
for 6 weeks. I don't have a bike in the US. It was stolen while I was
in university. Last summer and the summer before I borrowed my
boyfriend's bike but it is one of those mountain hybrids and I've since
come to prefer skinny tires and drop bars.

I don't think I'll be filling up my 60 kilo weight allowance this trip.
I rarely do on trips from Asia. I always do on trips to Asia.

Judging by the picture on the website, and the price tag, is it
worthwhile to consider disassembling and taking this bike to the US?

-M

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  #2  
Old June 7th 05, 02:32 PM
bryanska
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Default

Wow! This post is really interesting. I haven't seen anyone discussing
Chinese bikes before, at least not those sold in China.

Please post more. I'd like to see pictures of your other bikes, if
possible, and any close-ups.

Thanks for the great post!

  #3  
Old June 8th 05, 12:49 AM
C.J.Patten
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Default

Pretty cool... I don't have the brass tacks to walk into a class of 30 and
pretend I know how to teach English. Good on ya'!

$28?! For a bike!? $12 for another? And that Giant for $88! That's nutty!
Ditto the other reply - I'd like to see pictures!

I knew someone who went to school in Asia. They tried to pay for lunch one
day at the university cafeteria - something like $1.50 for a big meal - and
tried to say "keep the change"... they thought he was *trying to haggle!* He
slunk away in shame when he figured out how they were interpreting his
gestures. ;p

_________

Take this with a grain of salt as I have a huge bias toward them: had you
considered a folding bike? Very easy to travel with and based on the 50km or
so in the past week on my newest bike, a KHS folder, I'll never go back to a
non-folder.

Seeing as you like the Giant brand (nice bikes, I love the Prodigy SUB) take
a Giant "Halfway" for a ride. Maybe it's the answer to your travel luggage
size and weight restrictions. Dahon makes a comparable and less expensive
model - look for the 2004 Impulse D6 aluminum.

I've had both up to about 30km/h and didn't feel like I was over-revving. My
KHS I've had to 38km/h.

(just a thought!

Chris


  #4  
Old June 8th 05, 04:42 AM
numbnutz
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Default



http://www.giantbicycles.com/ch/030....002&model=6636

Giant Speeder X

Including bicycle computer, and water bottle cage it cost me 816 rmb
($100). I bought it yesterday.



Cheap! Cute (but apparently useless) fenders!

I find it interesting that even though your bikes keep getting stolen,
the price for your replacement bikes seems to be trending upward.
Many people would go the other way and get crappier and crappier bikes
until the thieves finally stop stealing them.

Good luck keeping the new one!
  #5  
Old June 8th 05, 07:27 AM
brucianna
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Default



bryanska wrote:
Wow! This post is really interesting. I haven't seen anyone discussing
Chinese bikes before, at least not those sold in China.

Please post more. I'd like to see pictures of your other bikes, if
possible, and any close-ups.

Thanks for the great post!


I don't have any pictures specifically of bike #1. I don't even
remember the brand name. I have a photo of a blind erhu player where
you can see the basket and part of the handlebars but I doubt that is
what you are looking for.

The one picture of #4 was given to the police after it was stolen.

I'll see about taking some pictures of #6 and putting them up on the
web.

-M

  #6  
Old June 8th 05, 07:53 AM
brucianna
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Default



C.J.Patten wrote:
Pretty cool... I don't have the brass tacks to walk into a class of 30 and
pretend I know how to teach English. Good on ya'!


30? 30....?!? My first year and a half I was at a high school and I
had classes of 55-70.

At the kindergartens I had classes of up to 25.

Now, I'm at a college. My large classes 30+ but my small classes are
less than 10. As attendance is not mandatory it translates more to 25
and 5.

$28?! For a bike!? $12 for another? And that Giant for $88! That's nutty!
Ditto the other reply - I'd like to see pictures!


The $12 bike was a secondhand which was bought for the frame. Tubes,
some of the spokes, one of the tires, both brakes, the front gear
cluster, the derailleurs (front and rear) and the chain were all
replaced with new. I also changed the seat for another secondhand
seat.

When I was done it was more like $60. But it _looked_ like $12.

I knew someone who went to school in Asia. They tried to pay for lunch one
day at the university cafeteria - something like $1.50 for a big meal - and
tried to say "keep the change"... they thought he was *trying to haggle!* He
slunk away in shame when he figured out how they were interpreting his
gestures. ;p


$1.50? At the university cafeteria?

Yesterday night I went to a spiff Hunan Resteraunt on Haidian Island.
When I say spiff, I do mean spiff. Upmarket dinner crowd spiff. For
the five us eating mostly meat, drinking local beer, and sitting in an
air conditioned private dining room it cost $10.

If we'd been in one of the more fashionable districts it might have
cost as much as $20. Possibly if we tried really hard and went
someplace really nice (like the Japanese, Thai, or Indian) we could
have stretched it to costing $40.

Today's lunch (coca cola, duck, spinach, bean sprouts, squash, rice,
eaten on metal plates sitting outside) was $1.

Take this with a grain of salt as I have a huge bias toward them: had you
considered a folding bike? Very easy to travel with and based on the 50km or
so in the past week on my newest bike, a KHS folder, I'll never go back to a
non-folder.


I briefly considered one back when I was living in Shijiazhuang. I
would frequently go to Beijing for the weekend and if I wanted to take
my bike with me I had to sent it on the cargo train. Which meant
delivering it to the train station the night before.

Seeing as you like the Giant brand (nice bikes, I love the Prodigy SUB) take
a Giant "Halfway" for a ride. Maybe it's the answer to your travel luggage
size and weight restrictions. Dahon makes a comparable and less expensive
model - look for the 2004 Impulse D6 aluminum.


If you've ever tried to pack 60 kilo of stuff you'd be surprised how
much it is, especially when you get another 20 kilo in carryon. It's
hard to manage to take as much as I'm allowed.

On the upcoming trip home I'll be near empty. Which is why I'm
considering taking the bike back with me. Since the return trip to
Asia I'll have books and cheese and olives and books and books and
household goods and books and possibly clothing in my luggage I'll have
to leave the bike in the US but... it will mean 6 weeks of _not_ having
to use my boyfriend's bike.

-M

  #7  
Old June 8th 05, 08:45 AM
brucianna
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Posts: n/a
Default



numbnutz wrote:

http://www.giantbicycles.com/ch/030....002&model=6636

Giant Speeder X

Including bicycle computer, and water bottle cage it cost me 816 rmb
($100). I bought it yesterday.


Cheap! Cute (but apparently useless) fenders!


It was raining yesterday. I have to agree with you on the fenders not
being very good. They kept the very worst water off of me, but I still
got splashed. Better than nothing at all though.

I find it interesting that even though your bikes keep getting stolen,
the price for your replacement bikes seems to be trending upward.
Many people would go the other way and get crappier and crappier bikes
until the thieves finally stop stealing them.


My bikes keep getting stolen, therefore I let the salesman talk about
the 20,000 rmb bike, joined the salesman in drooling over the 20,000
rmb bike, joined the salesamn in wistfully sighing over the 20,000 rmb
bike, then took his suggestion and bought the 800 rmb one.

Once upon a time I had a crappy bike. It was bought by a friend as a
replacement for my first bike. Because he was using my first bike when
it got stolen. I left that bicycle outside for 4 months. In a
semi-public place. With the key in the lock. And it wasn't taken. 14
months later, when I visited that city, the bike was no longer sitting
in front of my old apartment. But, for all I know, it was sold for
scrap metal.

The bikes that the thieves won't take are the bikes that aren't worth
riding.

I'd like to have another camoflage bike (like #3) but the Haikou is
subtropical and 1/17th the size of Shijiazhuang. In Shijiazhuang I had
to look over a few hundred bikes before I found one worth refurbishing.
Haikou's secondhand bike market rarely has more than 8 or 10 bikes at
a time.

I probably should have shipped the Emmelle south instead of giving it
away.

Good luck keeping the new one!


It isn't so much a matter of luck as a matter of insufficient paranoia.
Surely my boss wouldn't tell me to put my bike there unless there is a
bike watcher. Surely three locks are enough to run inside for a few
minutes. Surely...

Surely my new bike will follow me _into_ the second floor internet bar.
Where it will then be locked.

Surely my new bike will be locked up at night inside a locked closet in
a locked building inside a locked compound.

Surely my new bike will only be parked places with guards.

-M

 




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