Gettin’ Smashed

As some might remember, I bought an e-bike a few months back.

It’s pretty much replaced taxis as my primary mode of transportation (taxis having replaced buses shortly after I got caught in the rear door pushing my way on an overstuffed bus).

For a city like Suzhou I would even go so far as to saying a bike of some sort is a necessity, as it allows you to boot around all sorts of great back alleys that you’d never bother with using your feet or four wheels.

I had been thinking just the other day how despite being a bit nervous on it when I first road it home, I had become quite comfortable and was perhaps pushing the risk factor a little too much.

Then it hit me … well, rather, then I hit it. A car that is.

I was on my way to school the other day, crossing a rather congested four-lane road just outside my community. I’d successfully crossed the road and merged into the first lane of traffic when, while checking my blind spot to complete my journey to the far side, I merged with the car in front of me.

smashed bikeApparently, in that half-second I looked behind me to make sure I wasn’t going to get creamed from behind, the car in front of me slammed on the breaks. I didn’t need to, the stopping power of the car’s rear-end was more than enough to halt me.

Fortunately all this happened at relatively low speeds and other than a bit of bike-rash on my knee and sore shoulders the following day, I’m tip-top. The front end of my bike however… not so much.

Structurally she’s still sound as a pound, but the cheap candy coating crumpled faster than a laowai after bad chuar.

Fortunately the manufacturer is local, and after calling them today, they’re sending a repair guy out tomorrow to assess how much fixing it’s going to cost me.

The whole situation could be a lot worse, but does generally suck. However, and this is a big however, I don’t know that I’d trade it all in and have to sacrifice the image of the woman’s face in the back seat of the car staring out the rear window as a big white guy removed himself from her bumper.

Us white folks… we can’t drive… or so they’ll say.

12 Responses

  1. The helmet argument is a good one, and really, what can I say – wearing a helmet is much safer.

    I’ve never classified myself as a “lemming” or “sheep”… however, I am reasonably certain should I decide to grace my skull with a hard hat I’d be the only ebike rider in all of Jiangsu with it – and I’m in no rush to be “that guy”.

    It should be noted that riding an ebike is a bit of a purgatory between vehicle and pedestrian. As all but the smallest roads in Suzhou have designated bike lanes (often separated from the road by a large median), I’ve, generally, no more risk of being hit by a car than I would if I were walking – and most of us would concede that life hasn’t come to us all wearing helmets when we go outside yet.

    “But cyclists wear helmets all the time,” you cry. And that’s true. I’ve also yet to meet an ebike that can get the speeds a bike can.

    I’m not saying it’s the best, or even a smart, decision not to wear a helmet… but well, it’s not on my shopping list.

    And yes, you are all welcome to say “I told you so” when I’ve nothing but tubes keeping me alive in some dirty Chinese hospital.

  2. Goodness! I am very glad to hear it wasn’t any worse than it was. Sorry that your bike got beat up, but at least you came out OK. I tried riding a scooter in Shenyang, and a bike in Yangshuo, but I was just too nervous. In Fuyang, I’m sure I would have bitten the dust if I had listened to the school when they told me to commute by bike. People both in cars and on bikes drove as if they had a death wish. Heh.

  3. I know a guy in Nanjing who got blasted the first day he bought his bike. Although he was playing it safe, I don’t think he was used to having to look-out ALL the time. He ended up alright though, just a couple scratches.

    Even after all the stories…I still want one! (it is getting pretty damn cold though)

  4. We all do stupid stuff in the traffic. This is why (being an incredible wise person myself and still having done shit like you), we need to protect ourselves no matter what. Buy a helmet dude šŸ™‚

    There are plenty of idiots out there, but unfortunately they are not the only ones in accidents.

    I bet you cursed the car for breaking too abrupt? I would, but like you, I would know that it really was my fault for not keeping proper distance. And trust me – I HAVE done the same thing on my bicycle a few times. Fortunately I never rammed into a car…. yet. Safe driving in the future šŸ™‚

  5. I’m glad you posted this story — it’s something I needed to read. I ride a bicycle everywhere in Xiamen, and when I try to describe the scene on the roads here to people outside China, I never can quite convey the impression of utter mayhem. I have to admit that my first reaction when reading a story like this is “but that could never happen to me, because I’m so careful”. But, of course, that’s crap: it could happen to me, and almost has, several times. You really need to have four complete sets of eyes constantly looking in every direction.

    My favorite is when I look up in front and see somebody going the wrong way, speeding towards me along my side of the road — then I sometimes have to make that split second decision to go left or right to avoid them — it seems like left is something of a standard.

    The thought often occurs to me that I’ll meet my ignominious end getting creamed by a bus on some anonymous street over here. Hope not.

  6. Must have been a week for accidents. Just this morning I got into an accident with a retarded bitch grandma and her little kid. And this was out in SIP where its pretty deserted.

  7. Dude, thankfully you got out safely on this one, with only a story to tell and a warning sign! And well, IĀ“m not eager to send you the Told Ya So comment, so drive carefully!

  8. You’re a brave man. You need some Death Wish 2000 ( spikes and machine guns for your e-bike.

    “In The Year 2000 Hit And Run Driving Is No Longer A Felony. It’s The National Sport!”

    I sometimes feel like it’s China Death Race 2007.

    I felt that way as a pedestrian walking on the sidewalk when two motorcycles from different directions are trying to navigate on both sides of me. We have barely 1 cm between all of us. And both motorcycles carried passengers.

  9. I’m sooooo adding big metal spikes to my ebike! The machine gun’s not a bad idea either… maybe just a supersoaker.

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