Shên Pack

Shanghai Streets

Bicycles have served China for decades in all manner of ways. In Shanghai sadly the car is replacing the bicycle as the main means of getting around. Now as people aspire to Western values, bicycle riding is perceived as transport for the impoverished classes and something that one should not undertake or aspire to. Some streets are now closed to bicycles and bike lanes are places for cars to park. What this means is that now in Shanghai, a city that has amazing bicycle infrastructure, it is difficult and dangerous to ride in its main streets.

Shanghai Ride

Therefore bike riders, rickshaws and even scooters all ride together in a pack. The pack has to be large…larger than a car… the larger the better! A pack forms spontaneously by strangers on wheels  moving at the same speed. Cars run red lights, pull out, cut across lanes, stop suddenly…drive on the wrong side of the road. You have to work together. You have to move as one to make it through the intersections… to reach your destination!

It felt like I was part of a flock of birds or school of fish under attack. I felt connected to every point/person in the pack as we reacted to the road, surged to dodge cars, held our ground in the moment; each from our individual positions.
For this reason riding in Shanghai was very different to riding in Beijing, Guangzhou, Kyoto and Shinjuku. Though dangerous, I did enjoy the feeling of being connected in this way. It was exhilarating… but be warned NOT for the faint hearted!

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