Monday, September 15, 2008

Biker names

By Kevin

We were on a mission: if we are to properly know Weinan, we would need bikes. Our destination was bike row: the place everyone in town goes to buy and sell bikes. Generally Sunday mornings are the time to go, we'd learned, because there are more bike-sellers on hand those days.

Unfortunately we have no idea how many of these bikes are legitimately being sold by their owners and how many were stolen and are now being resold.

I gazed for bikes that looked both sturdy and tall enough for my 6'3" frame.

A few bikes rode smoothly, but the people trying to sell them didn't want to go the extra step of adjusting the seat height so I could be sure I was getting something tall enough, so I moved on.

The opening price on my favorite bike, a lightweight 12 speed mountain bike was a little steep: 600 RMB (about $85). Figuring that Ruth went through three bikes in Yangzhou (two were stolen), I decided I'd better opt for a lower-priced model. But continued clutching onto it for another five minutes, inspecting it, considering if there was any way I could justify the purchase.

Eventually, Wes and Ruth found bikes for 240 RMB ($35) and 180 RMB ($26) respectively. Unfortunately, my hopes of getting something for less were shot by then. Word spread about how much they'd paid. "This one is newer," the seller would claim, when I offered 150 RMB for the bike I'd settled on, oblivious to the fact that it had a few rusty parts and more scratches than the others. "220."

He offered to raise the seat as high as it would go. Finally, someone who was willing to work with me.

I raised my offer to 180. He moved down to 210. 190, I offered. "200," he said. Probably could have bought it for 190, but I was ready to just get it. "Ok."

So then we set off on our half-hour ride back across the city.

On the way, Wes decided we needed biker names to use whenever we ride, in addition to naming our bikes.

Ruth became Zorba. Wes's biker name became Meat. I became Tank.

Ruth's bike? Sunshine. Wes' is T-Bone. Mine is Pedro.

We suggested that Christina's biker name should be Peggy or Peggy sue, but she didn't seem too enthused with the idea. We'll see... (for some reason firefox is crashing whenever I try to upload photos, so those may have to wait a bit)

No comments: