Red bikes of freedom
Trip Start Aug 05, 2011
101Trip End Oct 08, 2012
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To become a Red Bike user one must first go to the primary bike station on Nanshan Rd, which is by the lake and easy to find. Have your passport and 300 RMB (about 50 bucks) with you and they will issue you a card. Then you must pick your bike carefully, I go for the one with the highest seat, then check for air in the back tire, brake check, wheel roundness check, and if everything looks good, I place my card on the top of the metal lock that holds the bike until the latch opens and the bike is mine! Usually the bike has one or two issues which cause me to return the bike at the next smaller bike station (they are about 1 KM apart more or less.) Our trip took about 5 bikes and three hours to get around the lake. I've broke one or two bikes and just returned the remains to a locking station and rode off on another one
Hangzhou has bike lanes, many are completely separated from other traffic but when lots of bikes and faster electric bikes are using the lane it becomes much like a roller derby. I have seen cars park in the bike lane, three wheeled rickshaws traveling the wrong way in the bike lane, pedestrians standing or walking in the bike lane. Cars driving on the side walk honking for people to get out of their way. Riding the bike lane requires becoming one with the ebb and flow of the tide of humanity, just pretend that you are part of a group of fish and follow your instincts. I did get a small movie of me riding in the bike lane, but couldn't film much since I can't ride one handed in those conditions, Must get a helmet cam. I will be using the bike lanes daily in my town of Xiasha but the conditions shouldn't be as chaotic since Xiasha's population is much smaller than Hangzhou's. Probably get an electric in addition to a pedal bike so I don't show up to class in a pool of sweat.
Bike riding in HZ is quite a good time, but not for the squeamish if you plan to hit the more populated areas.