There is absolutely no doubt, Kyoto is best seen by bike. Yesterday we met up with volunteers from the Kyoto University Good Samaritans Club. They showed us their Kyoto. We hired bikes ate lunch at the University and enjoyed giant servings of green tea sweets! For good measure we saw a shrine or two! But the best bit was cycling around parts of Kyoto that are well off the tourist path! For good measure we hired bikes again this morning and did some of the most rewarding cycling. Their tiny streets and interesting buildings make it a great joy. As soon as you arrive in Kyoto you should hire a bike from the Kyoto Cycling Tour Project. The things we happened upon were interesting real world shops, good coffee, a small shrine and kimono parade!
This is what the cycle in Shanghai looked like from my perspective.
At this stage it was pouring with rain, and we were slightly lost.
A proud owner of a wool and cashmere tailored suit is writing this post! It was one of my goals of this trip to buy a tailored suit. It is quite an experience, not because of the flourish but rather the ruthless efficiency. We arrived there sweaty (long and some times lost walk from the Metro station) and within 15 minutes I had selected my fabric and been measured up. That was Sunday, they had three days to finish the suit because it need to be ready by Wednesday. So another fitting was booked in for Tuesday and with pickup on Wednesday.
I am impressed, Dave’s Custom Tailoring managed it. The two subsequent visits were also less than 15 minutes.
Our second visit involved us riding our bikes from our B&B to the shop through the centre of Shanghai. I suspect we are amongst a few select customer’s of Dave’s that have arrived by bike. Usually customers arrive in large black European cars or at worst a cab. But no matter, the kind guard at the gate looked after our bikes.
After the second fit, we rode our bikes to the Metro station to catch a train so Helen could give a thumbprint…. Hey Helen when is that story going to be posted?
The second half of the ride was in three words… wet, Wet, WET! I wish I had bought those emergency ponchos I mused about during the Kathmandu sale. Oh well. Riding in Shanghai traffic with one hand on the handlebar and one holding an umbrella is amusing. We didn’t catch a chill though because it was way too hot.
All up we rode about 21kms that day.I have embedded a google map to show our route (so you may need to visit our webpage to see it blog.hmkdt.id.au). You may need to zoom out a couple of levels to see our route.
I bikes were almost brand new and the seats were so low even Helen complained! We got plenty of stares and an occasional smile. We managed to stop an entire worksite as would stood at the side of the road trying to work out where we were. No one offered us their ponchos though.
For those who worry about us, perhaps you should not read this post! Yes we rode in Beijing! Yes we rode during peak hour! Yes we rode on some of the biggest and busiest roads we have ever seen! Yes we are still alive!
To be frank, I would prefer to ride my bike to work in Beijing than in Adelaide. Traffic is slower and it is used to dealing with lots and lots of bicycles. The road rules are clear the biggest vehicle has right of way!
The bike lanes are big and the bikes travel slowly, but often faster than the cars. Street lights are optional and often safer ignored!
It is by far the best way of seeing lots of Beijing. We rode around the old hutongs and a couple of smart lakes and Tiananamen Square. Fun Fun Fun! If we’re clever we’ll add some video showing the traffic conditions.
p.s. I got my wish of cycling a single speed bike!!!!
p.p.s I wish I had my bike shorts with me, although I would have got lots of stares!