Have you ever seen chair skating before?

Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
Trip End Mar 28, 2010

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Flag of China  ,
Sunday, January 10, 2010

Finally, I have discovered an activity which makes the cold weather almost desireable.  It's not something that is mundane like skiing, snowboarding or even ice skating.  It's chair skating.

I don't know who invented it or what the history was but it's brilliant.  Basically, when the lakes are cold enough to be frozen, they are deemed safe for skating.  School-style chairs were re-engineered with blades and screw-drivers were welded to a longer piece of metal to create poles.  The result was, chair-skating.  It's more obvious when you look at the picture but it's tons of fun.  You can actually go pretty fast on it and pull off turns and spins easily.

Another equally enjoyable activity was riding the ice bikes.  Bikes were also re-engineered with blades and the back wheel works as the thrust while the front was replaced with a small steering blade.  It's much safer than it sounds (despite how many times I am using the word, "blade").  The only thing one needs to watch out for are the hundreds of other Chinese people riding around too.

If you are fortunate, you may get the chance to see a man (keyword: Speedo) dive into the freezing water.  Apparently, it's healthy if you train and work up to withstand the icy water.  I am not convinced... it seems like everything that is crazy is "healthy" for rationalization purposes.  Anyway, I did see a man do this and his dive was somewhat off in form and he ended up belly-flopping.  He surfaced with a reddish tint, but that could have been a deliberate strategy to stay warm... who knows. 
So... if anyone comes in to China in the winter and is bummed about the cold weather... go chair-skating!  I have not seen this anywhere else in the world and even my Canadian friends admit they would love to see it in their home country.  That's how good it is.
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