I’ve seen photos of bicycle commutes from around the world, and felt that it was time to make my contribution. My commute is a short one — 15 minutes each way on a normal day. The pollution today was terrible, so I decided to take it very slowly. That had the advantage of making it easier to take photos. The commute is hardly as impressive or beautiful as others I’ve seen, but I hope it’s interesting in its own way. I decided to start taking pictures 5 minutes in, which meant I didn’t get photos of my neighbourhood on the way out. The photos at the end, taken on the way back, fill in these missing bits.
Here we go…
Heading East into haze on the North 4th Ring road. There’s little traffic partly because it’s after morning rush hour and partly because all the cars are waiting at the light behind me.
A busy bus stop, I have to go around the outside of the busses…
Past the busses, and straight on. The whole city is a grid, much of it rather unexciting for biking.
A car turning right, without stopping, even with oncoming traffic. A favourite trick of drivers here. Eye contact is often actively avoided, so always assume they won’t notice you.
Straight. So very straight…
Coming up to a turn! Even on a red light, cars don’t stop to turn right, so watch out for traffic behind. Sometimes, cars will make right turns from the right-most non-turning lane, just to keep you on your toes.
In the turn. The left-turn lane is essentially impossible to get into from the bike lane, so turning bikes are forced into this narrow channel between lanes.
Right-turning cars with a red light actively avoiding eye contact. You have to wait for a car to lag a bit behind, then poke your bike in front to stop them. Cars don’t like giving up space to bikes because as soon as they let one through, they have to wait for a dozen to pass.
Made it through to the nice big bike lane.
Turn right at the Fragrant Moonlight of Lotus Club.
A quieter side street, a good way to get around the bicycle traffic jams you sometimes encounter going the other way.
A strange-looking restaurant with breakfast tables set out in front. It’s a bit late for breakfast, and anyway I ate at home. Earlier in the morning this place is packed.
This guy looked like he was showing off his trackstand for his friends. But on a tricycle.
Laundry time. The bikes behind her are sitting in front of a bike repair stand, one of thousands of such stands all around the city. The place with the red sign sells cigarettes and telephone recharge (add-value) cards.
Turn left up here at the end of the nice little road.
Straight. Again. That’s the new elevated light rail (Subway Line 13) running beside me.
Dahon power! Muscular calf demurely hidden under jeans. Sexy Raleigh 20 chrome fenders show it all.
There was an argument going on here between some woman and a taxi driver. Didn’t stop to investigate, though many others did (arguments are a major source of public entertainment in Beijing).
Turn right up here…
…under the light rail station and over the old (and very unpleasant to ride over) railroad tracks.
Someone lost a pedal (by the wheel of the bike-lane marker). An oddly common sight. Sexy Raleigh 20 fender peeking in and trying to steal the show.
This road is *always* jammed. But I can ride around all the cars…
Left across the road through a gap in traffic, and straight through this gate. The red sign above reads: “Seriously study road transportation safety laws, establish modern transportation conciousness!”. Sure thing.
Turn right and through this gate. The speedbump in the gate is a killer.
Playing chicken with a black Audi.
Following the meandering road.
The universities here aren’t really built for walking convenience. Need to go all the way to the end.
And turn left up here, past the main entrance to the main teaching building. Bike rack all the way at the end.
Patiently waiting for my return.
And a few from the way back.
Straight along the 4th ring again, now heading West. The air still sucks (air quality continued to deteriorate all afternoon).
Waiting at a light to enter my neighbourhood. Another black Audi, this one shinier and not coming straight at me.
Entering my neighbourhood, past a very bored security guard in a box.
Passing a local primary/middle school.
Men in the neighbourhood park playing/watching chess.
Right down here…
Left down here…
Well, actually, it’s a bit further down this way.
Past the dusty pile of bikes I’ve never seen moved (which lack pedals).
Up four flights and there we are! Crazy neighbour in apartment to the right not visible.
So there you have it.