I had so many unanswered questions from last week I decided to ride back to Taikang to learn more. Also, there are some better county roads up that way, in good condition and not too busy. I found a nice little piece of single track to connect some pieces together, too. There was some dusty double track that claimed to be county road, but to call it that was a stretch. I took a little different route this time, and liked it better; not so far at one time in a single direction. I had a headwind, but the air was “moderate.” That’s much better than last week, which someone told me later had topped out at over 400 ppm.
Last Sunday’s air is probably what gave me the cold I’m getting over now, even though I was wearing a good mask. Henan province’s five largest cities have just started a system in which cars with even and odd license plate numbers trade days driven in city centers. It began about the same time Hellobike started here. Also, buses are free this month. An electric scooter share has been trying to take some business away from the Hellobikes. Where there are never enough bikes for everyone that wants one outside of the west entrance to campus, there are now many scooter-shares and still few share bikes.
On this ride to Taikang I investigated the large old market, which held nothing new, and the mysterious stairways leading underground. They lead to a sizeable underground mall. After lunch I stopped by the Giant bike shop. I knew I would be getting back after dark so I couldn’t spend much more time after my hui mian, pita sandwich and coffee. After a flurry of photos at the Giant shop from the astounded staff, I started home. The mystery music venue (Popping, Breaking, Waacking, Street Jazz??) was closed.
I’m continually amazed how many scooter and three-wheeler operators ride ninja, no lights, and how many people walk along, or in, the road dressed in black after dark. I am thankful for my Light and Motion headlight I brought back with me to China this time, and my good tail light. Drivers don’t seem to appreciate it however, and I get high beams flashed at me often, even though I have it aimed down to hit pavement no more than 10′ ahead of me. If I aimed it any closer I wouldn’t see the piles of dirt and bricks on the road edge until it was too late for evasive action.
The Taikang bike shop staff has invited us up for a meet and greet and dinner, so Steve will finally get to ride to Taikang with me at the end of the month. I’m sure there will be more mysteries and adventures in store for us then.