Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Of Bikes and Men

  Our tour guide Abraham assured us that not many people ride bikes in Taipei because of the danger from other traffic (most notably scooters).  Yet I couldn't walk down a sidewalk anywhere in the city without some schlub pootling past on a pedal bike. Or a mother with her little one crammed in front of her grasping the handlebars or a father with a youngster clinging tightly to his back.
The jade market

What I really wanted to see was one of those bikes  that is stuffed to overflowing with plastic milk jugs or so covered in such an unbelievable load that you can't imagine how they can stay upright.  Pity the poor person carrying one of those loads on their bike and they get a flat.  I did pass one fellow with a flat pushing his bike quite a distance and I never saw anyone carrying a pump. 
Sort of what I was looking for

I'm not used to seeing anyone set up shop right on the street so I was surprised when I found the area where bikes are sold; a sidewalk  repair facility.  Quite busy too - a man and a woman working on one bike, a commuter connecting a compressed air hose to his bike and a man wearing a shop apron making adjustments to a new Giant.

On a per capita basis, maybe Abraham was right - not that many Taiwanese ride bikes.  During the countless subway rides we took, not once did I ever see someone with their bike in the subway car.  Yet when we stopped in San Francisco on the way back home and took the short jaunt into downtown from the airport and back, I made note of four bikes just in the two cars we travelled in.

San Fran subway

1 comment:

  1. I am Abraham Chian, your tour guide when you were in Taipei and Yilan. Thank you for your writing 3 articles about cycling in Taiwan.