On 2 wheels again.

July 3, 2010

Finally we drove to the other side of town and grab 3 nice bicycles, 3 times more expensive than the average second hand Chinese models but half of what i would have paid back home. Average life expectancy of a bike is 6 months due to stealing, Jeff (our Chinese housemate) is so paranoid about that fact that he doesn’t want to ride to work or leave the bike locked outside. Let’s see how it goes. Bicycle culture is still booming here mostly because it’s the cheapest transportation method but the town is also packed with electric scooters of all kinds. Chinese government try to ban internal combustion engines (specifically 2 stroke motorbikes) due to noise and pollution so nearly everything motorized in 2 wheels runs on electricity. This brings problems that you haven’t consider but will arise in Western world if electric cars / transportation prevails.

First there is the noise issue, or lack of noise to be precise, noise is a feedback defense mechanism that can inform you of approaching vehicles outside of your narrow field of vision. Take that away combined with lack of lights at night (for energy preserving) and the crazy driving attitude of electric scooters (they drive on pavements, crossing red lights, honking to overpass you) and you have the perfect urban silent killer. The issue with noiseless vehicles have troubled the design world with crazy ideas about new generated sound for cars but so far the proposed solutions lack imagination. more info here. We crossed the city from North to South in 1 hour and 20 minutes with breaks a good dose of sweat and electric scooters eating our dust ha!


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