Browsing articles in "Trail Ramblings"
Apr
17
2017

Rambling Different Trails: Racing in Henan!

We decided to take advantage of a long weekend and check out Xinyang, in the south of our province of Henan. There are mountains and northern tea, rice, and even water buffalo. After so much flat around Zhoukou it was a nice change of pace. The last thing we expected was to land in the middle of the Xinyang 9th “Lottery Cup” Bicycle Open. A bicycle race! In Henan! I had no idea. It was […]

Apr
10
2017

Rambling Different Trails: What Is There To See Out There?

People have different motivations for getting on a bike. For some it’s a fun thing to do with friends. Others are solitary commuters, still others seem to live to race. I like all those reasons, plus one more. I enjoy touring my area to see new things. I do this around Nebraska, but here in Zhoukou everything is new. Every ride increases my understanding of the culture and region. It’s easy to live in a […]

Apr
4
2017

Rambling Different Trails: All Rides Are Local.

If “all politics is local” as the saying goes, certainly our rides are. For some, riding is a political statement as well as a form of transportation or avocation. From your bike you see your environment up-close. Environmental issues like trash, flooding, air pollution and infrastructure are experienced by a person on a bike in a way that someone in a car or who doesn’t get out into the community will not. Whether or not […]

Mar
27
2017

Rambling Different Trails: At The Bike Shop.

It’s aggravating not speaking Chinese, and needing to go to the bike shop while not speaking Chinese is even worse. I can say a few phrases and get us home in a taxi, but explaining my need for a new chain and cassette and probably the bottom bracket? It’s rough. I know there must be better translation apps out there than what I’ve found but when you get into specialized vocabulary like this, it comes […]

Mar
20
2017

Rambling Different Trails: Get To Know Your Own Backyard.

Recently we we were invited out to dinner by a “well-placed civil servant.” We never found out what he actually does, but he speaks English. Eventually the conversation came around to riding bikes because, well, what could be better? I had to talk about my recent discoveries along the Shahe and Yinghe rivers, and that I’d just gone the day before to Xiaolaozhen via the Shahe. He just stared at me and said he’d grown […]

Mar
13
2017

Rambling Different Trails: Putting The Puzzle Together.

This past week I’ve been exploring the levee roads upstream from Zhoukou. The Yinghe and the Shahe rivers meet on the western edge of the city but I’d never found the entrance to a levee road west of the beltway. It turns out that tributaries and topography shift them but I finally found some of the thin gray lines on the map and figured it out. There’s nothing quite like having new territory to explore […]

Mar
7
2017

Rambling Different Trails: Fast Forward To The Present

I was reminded a few days ago just how quickly things are changing here in Zhoukou. I was commenting on the small village roads I’d been riding lately. Another oral English teacher, one who has been here for more than ten years laughed and said that when she arrived all the roads were like that. There were no big roads. What traffic there was consisted of buses, trucks, taxis, black government cars, and three-wheelers. And […]

Feb
20
2017

Rambling Different Trails: An Adventure In Bike Shares.

We are back from a week in Nanjing, Suzhou, and Shanghai, and are excited to see that bike shares are so common there. Nanjing is a modern city, heavily damaged during the Japanese occupation but today re-built and full of interesting places to visit by public transit and bicycle. I immediately noticed that the municipal Public Bicycle bikeshare of Nanjing which uses docking posts sometimes lining a whole city block, was not the only option. […]

Feb
6
2017

Trail Ramblings: Driven Beyond Patience.

It’s easy to take for granted the dependability and generally law-abiding nature of Lincoln motorists, excepting of course the (lack of) use of turn signals. Here in China if there’s dependability, it’s that when a motorist, or anyone, sees an opportunity to get ahead, they’ll likely take it. Queuing up is not second nature here. That message was brought home yesterday when we accepted the offer of an outing to Xiangcheng to see Yuan Shikai’s […]

Jan
31
2017

Rambling Different Trails: Being Good Ambassadors.

Whether you are based in Lincoln, Nebraska or Zhoukou, Henan, as long as you are on a bicycle you represent All Cyclists in the eyes of those you meet. Here I get a twofer and so also represent All Westerners. I’m not sure which is stranger to people sometimes, (probably the latter) but combined it’s definitely a traffic stopper. Interacting with traffic and local residents in Lincoln who don’t understand why we ride on the […]

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