I’ve been riding the spicy soup loop forward and backward this past week so I feel like I’m getting to know the area to the west better. I didn’t even get lost! Next up, more of the southeast sector.
This last week was foggy and smoggy. I’ve never ridden in fog like I did yesterday. You might think that it would make people stay home, but no. There were cargo motos and scooters everywhere. Luckily, people don’t drive very fast, so I didn’t feel it was dangerous. Today my cryptic weather app says that the air here is at “39” and “better than 67% of the entire country” This is great, but the result of winter weather moving in. Today’s high was at 7:00 this morning and it was rainy. We are expecting snow tomorrow. Based on when the peaches bloom here the climate seems like North Carolina, or maybe Arkansas. They don’t usually get snow here this soon, but people are getting ready for it.
Central air seems not to exist, with individual room units for heating and cooling the norm when it exists at all, and the only ventilation is by window. Most classrooms and dorm rooms are heated with student bodies only. The corridors have open balconies and students just keep their coats on. Sales of super thick long underwear and lounge wear have been brisk. On my ride yesterday I stopped for a snack in Xiaoyaozhen and was quickly surrounded by older women who thought I wasn’t dressed warmly enough. I tried to convey the fact that I was perfectly comfortable, but they didn’t understand how much heat is generated riding a bike. Or I should say a bike at speed. Slow down too long and it does get chilly.
I started the ride with another loop through the peach orchard amusement park. Steve visited it two years ago and was impressed by the Mongolian horseman who galloped a small horse in full Mongolian regalia, green cape billowing behind. We had been looking for the place and found it at Halloween. We saw the little horse out this time, but no rider so we rode our bikes around the small park looking at the old rides. I was getting quite chilly from the slow pace so I was happy to head out and get up to speed and warm.
Steve picked up his new bike Friday, but it is still too small. At about 6’3” it’s impossible for him to find what he wants in stock here. He was hoping it would work but apparently they were unable to order a frame big enough.
We’ll see how my winter riding gear works here. It is damper and there is quite a bit of spray. I left my booties, toe covers and bar mitts behind so I’ll be looking for something to use in their place. Maybe I’ll learn some tricks from the scooter riders.