Biking in Chinese Cities
What is the best way to get though one of China’s biggest cities? When we began cycling underneath the grand archway of Xi’an’s city wall – I had my answer – straight though the middle.
Like an amorphous school of fish, we swim through the city. We engulf unsuspecting pedestrians and cyclists, leaving them befuddled in our wake. Predators attempt to agitate the shoal from all angles, requiring one of us to distract the danger until the rest are safe. All the while, flurries of fingers fall from handlebars, highlighting the next pothole, crack, or rock for those behind. We make for a ravishing creature.
As we pedal, thousands of years of Chinese history pass. The terracotta army of Qin Shi Huang, the museum of Chinese writing and calligraphy, and the Wild Goose Pagoda are a few of the many historical fingerprints. Xi’an served as the capital during the Tang Dynasty–the ‘Golden Years’ of China. As we traversed from West to East, we view Xi’an as the terminus of our adventure along the Silk Route. Gone are the minarets of Samarqand and the melting mud walls of Merv. Replacing them are the hum of neon lights and the green glow of Starbucks. Signaling our exit from the ancient and entrance into the familiar and ordinary.