Rambling Different Trails: Taikang, Huaiyang, And A Student Ride.


Temperatures were still somewhat Spring-like this past week, so last Thursday I celebrated with a ride back to Taikang (really, anything can suffice for a celebration ride.) The Giant bike shop there is always tempting me with rides I can’t go on, as it’s too far to ride there for their early starts.

Rolling into town, my first stop was to get some coffee at Dico’s, of course, where I had a nice chat in English with a well prepared middle-schooler about the virtues of using Ali-pay for my purchases. Few young people use cash here, but they don’t use plastic, either. Almost all use their smart-phones to scan the QR code and enter the payment using Ali pay, We chat wallet, or another payment service. Even the street vendors selling fruit from carts outside the campus gates must display a QR code if they want to sell anything. The youngster said that the only hackers here work for the police and are nothing to worry about.(!) I do use Alipay on occasion; for Taobao purchases, tickets, and if I don’t have enough money with me to buy something. I don’t like to click on things I can’t read and the English available on the site is minimal, but it is indeed quite convenient. Too convenient for some it seems. It is necessary to use the service to ride the bike shares.

After coffee it was on to the bike shop where I had a nice chat via Wechat translate with the co-owner of the shop, both of us laughing at the translations. “Bicycle rider” translates as “jockey”, for example. She bemoans the fact that long hours at the shop and a young family make it difficult to get out and ride as much as she’d like to.

In distance, Taikang is like the Sunday bacon ride to Platte River State Park, but without that tasty buffet. It was a tofu skin and pita sandwich for me, with a roasted sweet potato.

Friday a group of students was clamoring for a ride, and I have yet to turn them down. We only rode 16 miles, at about 8 mph, but they thought it was very taxing. Next time I must remember to bring snacks. They were thrilled at the adventure and beauty of the river levee outside of the city, but quite worried about the light drizzle that started up. The concept of taking a ride out of the city for enjoyment was new to them. The young women would never do it alone, however. Though China is safer in many ways, there have been cases reported of women being kidnapped by bachelors unable to find a wife.

Sunday, Steve rode with me to the archaeological site of Pingliangtai in Huaiyang to see improvements on the 6500 years of history on display there. It’s always a good destination for a ride. In distance, it’s like riding to Eagle and back; without the Mopac, but with other added features.

So there you have the main rides of my week. I hope you’ve had some good rides, too.