Chinese bike alert 19
Street scene, Cheng Du, I think the good eating place is in the background there somewhere, but I forget at this point:
click for big
Mmmm, look at those raleighoids with the custom wood boxes in the foreground, the nice cargo trike with the recycling load. Some other raleighoids and maybe a 20" psuedofolder in there too. This was really typical near campus in chengdu; road, seperated bike lane, bike parking, sidewalk, open storefronts.
Even in winter most stores were like this. Chengdu is in the south, in Sichuan Provence, or at least south of the mighty Yanghtzee River, thus they have very little indoor heating, especially in residences. The story is that people are not allotted home heating as it is in the south, but I am not sure if that was just for students. It was not warm however. It was just above freezing and humid most days, the sun did not come out once for the two weeks that I was in ChengDu. There was persistant probably pollutionbased cloud cover. No sun and wet cold is not all that pleasant. Most of the students dressed in epic layers, the kind of layering most westerners have not experienced since they went out to play in the snow when they were in kindergarten. The kind of layers that inhibit free motion. Stay puff marsh... well you get the point.
There are tons and tons of cars in the streets in ChengDu, but little infrastructure to support this. Unfortunately this means alot of parking is done on the sidewalks which inhibits bike lanes, bike parking and pedestrian motion. It is hard to express how depressing it is to see a bazillion Made in China Jettas and jetta rip offs all trying to park on the sidewalk in your bike utopia. Bah.
Something is going to give very soon in China, their energy consumption plus lack of resources plus huge growth plus full scale carlovefest is bad, really bad. The optimist in me says that they will pioneer biodiesel, hydrolectric and small scale nuclear reactors that will make the world a better place and help solve their energy problems...
The pessimist thinks that LA is screwed as it will be under an China sourced haze of pollution for the next two decades, at least.