Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Theft Proof

Well, I took the plunge last week and started riding a bike around town. I was understandably nervous the first week, seeing how difficult it can be to maneuver in crowded streets. Learning the flow of traffic is very tricky because there aren't really any hard and fast rules of the road. Vehicles don't stop on red lights when they turn right and crosswalks are not "safe spots" for bikes or pedestrians. They just mark the areas where people should cross...not that that is followed either. When I arrived in Tianjin, we got a "bike talk" and a two page hand-out on how to ride as safely as possible, and what to do if there is an accident. The rule of thumb is, "Go slowly, and follow a local." One thing is for sure-you always have to be aware of everything/everyone around you because if you aren't, you're an accident waiting to happen!

Another thing that is just something you have to accept. At some point, your bike will be stolen. Most people have at least 2 locks on their bikes and even then there are no guarantees. Nice bikes and foreigner's bikes are prime targets for theft. One of my friends here has lost 4 bikes so far! But some of the associates have discovered an effective deterrent...spray paint! The resale of a stolen bike is non-existent if the bike is too ugly or too identifiable. Also, certain color combinations like red and green are considered really ugly and disgusting to the Chinese, so you guessed it! That's what I spray painted my bike.

You should've seen the stares and giggles I got riding my newly painted bike down the if I'm not conspicuous enough! No self respecting Chinese would be caught dead on a bike like mine, so maybe-just maybe, I'll have it for awhile. I mean I paid $6 for this used bike and the Dutchman in me says six bucks is six bucks! No use giving it away. I should still probably get a second lock for my bike, but I have a feeling the spray paint is a better investment than any lock would be.

For a video clip of traffic in Tianjin, go to the Youtube on the side of this blog and write in "bignoseforeigner." Scroll down the clips until you find the clip on traffic/crossing the street. My friend Joel and his wife, Jessica have some great clips. This will give you a taste of what it's like to bike here. Enjoy!



hollyjlynn said...

Well, from my professional design knowledge... I think the bike looks better! I think those are great colors! but then again, i am a crazy american so thats probably why.

I watched that vide of them crossing the street and that is nuts! I am sure I would get squashed, haha.

by the way, we finally started updating our blog again..just in case you stopped looking since we never updated it before. :)

good luck with the bike!! :)

Leah VM said...

I Love it!

danatigs said...

You are hilariously smart, haha. Please be cautious and don't get squashed. We love you way too much!
Have fun riding your Christmas bike around.

Barbi V said...

All it needs is a big Christmas bow on the basket! I absolutely love your bike!!

Barbi V said...

And Christmas Bells!