First off, congratulations National Bike Challenge and Black Shirt winners! Except for the crashes near the end, it was a great challenge. Lincoln continues to lead the way nationally with the back-to-back wins.
Also like you in Lincoln, we’ve been getting a lot of rain here in Zhoukou, and more is on the way.
Our holiday week saw little riding outside of the city. We’d been warned about trying to travel at the same time 500,000,000 Chinese are on the move in their semi-annual trip home and to tourist sites. Had it been drier it would have been fine to ride longer rambles around Zhoukou. I did hammer out some good connecting routes, though another turned out to be a big circle.
With all the rain the air quality numbers were good, under 50, but the routes I was taking were on busier hard surfaced roads and highways. They have worse air than what the apps show. I got “the cold” again, though not as bad as last time. It looks like I’ll just have to wear a mask anytime I’m on a busy roadway. Unless it’s raining, as it’s impossible to breathe through the mask when it’s wet. In the countryside the peanut, soybean, and corn harvests are in full swing, and the roads are covered with drying crops anytime it’s not raining. Harvest methods range from modern to unchanged in thousands of years, side by side.
On rides around the city, I’ve learned that it’s not just the first row of houses along the river that are going down to widen the road. The entire neighborhood three long blocks away from campus, which didn’t look that sub-standard to me, is going. I think the real-estate it’s sitting on has become too valuable. High-rises are pushing in from two sides. I asked the English-speaking proprietor of our local bar how long they had known, and he said six months. He was being philosophical about the move and will re-open closer to campus. I’ll guess I’ll have to wait a few months before Guinness and Vedett are available in the neighborhood again. Where our seamstress has re-located to, we haven’t learned. Like I’ve mentioned before, none of this would I know but from my short-cuts through back alleys and explorations by bicycle.
As for Chinese law, I learned this week that it’s one strike and you’re out if you get caught driving drunk; you lose your license. If there is an injury or death caused by drunk driving it’s prison time, length depending upon severity. Period. Also, all motorists are on the hook for at least part of the cost of an injury accident involving more vulnerable road users, no matter whose fault it was. If the motorist’s at fault, it’s all medical and related costs. That may be some of the reason for the incessant honking, and the scooter and three-wheeler operators pulling out not even seeming to look for traffic. I like this law, but I do think the vulnerable road users should be better citizens on the streets. People do ride like they see others riding, but you won’t see me pulling out in traffic without looking.