Biking in the Big City
Today we rode our bikes to fellowship. This is the second time we’ve ridden there on bikes since Lucas learned how to ride his bike. The first time we went, it was pretty much without incident. This was the farthest Lucas had gone, so he was understandably slower and got tired. But this second trip was a bit different. We had several incidents. All three of the kids crashed from youngest to oldest.
Driving in Tianjin is crazy. We’ve learned the basic biking rules of the road of a big city in China, but there are bikes, people, cars, and scooters everywhere. The good news is that cars seem to be well aware of all the bicycles, so they do well to maneuver us. Bicycles have been a big part of their culture, especially in the past. However, they’re probably not used to a procession of 6 foreigners on 5 bikes. Nonetheless, we really haven’t had too much of a problem with cars. Our biggest issue is with bikes and motorized scooters coming the wrong way on our side of the road. There is usually enough room to go around them, but it just means that you have to be aware of the traffic all the time.
Micah, especially, has caused a couple of freakout moments from the perspective of the oncoming scooters because he waits until the last second to move out of the way (something which we’re addressing). He was the first to go down today, but it wasn’t because of another vehicle. He ran into a pole because he was distracted talking to mommy about needing a water break. It wasn’t bad, but his knees hurt a little from the spill. He was a bit out of sorts this morning, so the fall seemed a bit more dramatic than it really was.
This is Micah’s rendition of what happened.
Lucas, being the newest to riding a bike, has the most trouble keeping his eyes forward. I’m often reminding him to look ahead and not at his feet. Still, this incident can’t really be blamed on not paying attention. He ran into a motorized scooter carrying 3 people (husband driving, wife in the back holding a baby). The speed was quite slow for both Lucas and the scooter, but still it was kinda scary. Lucas hit the other driver’s leg and did a face plant into his arm.
I saw the whole thing from about 3 bike lengths back. It was a very busy section near a market entrance. There were bikes and food carts, pedestrians, cars and scooters everywhere. Jacquelyn was leading the procession and went left around a lady. Lucas went right. Because it was so busy, Lucas just couldn’t see the scooter behind the person. His reflexes are still a bit slow at this point, but he did try to hit the break.
There was a pretty big scene. The driver stopped and several other people surrounded us to make sure he was ok. One man in particular really made a big deal of making sure he was ok by helping Lucas to do exercises and stretches until he new he was ok. Surprisingly, Lucas never cried and jumped back on the bike ready to finish the trip. We were almost there by that point.
Here’s Lucas’ rendition of what happened.
On the way home Anna also had a crash. Hers was the most surprising and the funniest. Anna is a pretty good at bike-riding, so we really don’t have to watch her too closely. I was leading the pack this time so I didn’t actually see it, but she apparently ran smack-dab into the back of a parked taxi-cab. When I turned around the driver of the car was talking to Jacquelyn and Anna and gruffly just waved them on.
She didn’t really do any damage to the car, her bike or her self. Initially she wouldn’t say how it happened. She said the taxi just appeared out of nowhere. But later on in the day I was able to get her to tell me what really happened. She was not paying attention to the road because she was watching her own shadow. I cracked up laughing about this because it made me remember when I had done that very thing when I was about her age. In my instance I ended up on top of the truck of the car and in a bit of pain.
And here’s Anna’s rendition of the experience.