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Bicycle Advice Requested

tommann (423 posts) • 0

I am a n00b who will be buying a bicycle Monday for transportation around Kunming, and for exercise. Any advice is appreciated, even with so open-ended a question. Thanks!

blobbles (958 posts) • 0

So... ahhh... what do you want to know? Where to buy one? How to buy one? What to buy? Where to park it? How safe it is? What size you need?


Anonymous Coward (329 posts) • 0

If you want a bike that works well, get a Merida or Giant that doesn't cost less than 1200rmb. If you want something that won't be stolen then get something as cheap an shitty looking as possible.

blobbles (958 posts) • 0

I've got advice:

A bicycle is propelled by using the legs, pushing them in a circular motion while they are resting on the "pedals" protrusions from the crank arms, which are connected to a chain via chain rings. In turn the chain is connected to one or many cogs which are held in place to the back wheel.

To ride a bicycle, first mount it with one leg on each side. Place the pedal on your good leg (usually the one you use to kick a ball with) in the high position, ready for the down stroke. After checking the way ahead is clear and there are no vehicles coming from behind "stomp" on the high pedal pushing it forwards and down. At this stage the bicycle will propel forward and forcing you to sit on the seat. At the same time the opposite pedal will rise. Repeat the motion of the first foot with the second foot and continue until you reach your destination.

Remember to steer the bicycle using the handlebars.

Need more information?

blobbles (958 posts) • 0

Thought I would start at the beginning, since they said they were a n00b. Come on, that's some good advice!

laotou (1714 posts) • 0

@Blobbles has way too much free time.

Bikes are INFINITELY more convenient than taxis (expletives) and buses are also rife with pickpockets during rush hours. A typical inner city taxi fare can run ¥10-30. So 10-30 bike trips will pay for a cheap bike over a taxi any day. FYI - MANY taxis will refuse to store your bike in their trunk - should you ...say...get a flat or something else that renders the bike un-ridable. Opt for a bungy cord (big thick elastic rope with hooks) to tie down the trunk (boot for you UK'ers) and MAYBE keep a raggy (or nice) towel in your pack also - so you can wrap the bike's metal parts so it won't scratch their vehicle.

There's a couple of UCC & ludicrously priced Specialized bike stores around which are VERY good. Kunming is generally flat inside the 2-3 ring roads, with the occasional steep, but relatively short hills. There's a UCC bike store on Beimen Jie (Beijing Street) with excellent bikes and service - for new bikes. Prices are standard and range from around ¥1800 to ludicrous levels. The UCC bikes aren't as prolific - so MAY be a less desirable target - but again - anchor the thing when it's parked and ALWAYS lock the thing. Bike theft is RAMPANT. It takes roughly 1-3 minutes to crack most bike locks and an unlocked bike is cash & carry.

E-Bike - though the thieves will generally leave foreigners alone - e-bike muggings have occurred - not sure about bicycle muggings.

Occasionally expats sell their bikes online and there's a bike club which frequently advertises used mountain bikes - offbrand and Giant etc. Merida is a popular domestic brand with reasonable quality - look for Shimano gears and if possible cranks (front gears).

Wear a GOOD helmet. This will immediately identify you as a foreigner. Try to stop behind others as you may be blocking left or right turners in the bike lanes - arousing the ire of people who generally claim you should know the rules which they flagrantly violate. Although Kunming generally have bike lanes, we must share them with e-bikes which can travel 2-5 times the speed of a bicycle and road rules are generally ignored by a significant portion of the pedestrian, 2-wheeled, and 4-wheeled traffic - right turns, left turns, buses, taxis - all typical road hazards (not to mention the prolific toy dogs),

Kunming has a wet season (it's called winter) - so opt for mud flaps and check the weather before you venture out - maybe carry a cheapy compact rain suit in your backpack.

BEWARE the water trucks - they can jet water across several lanes - expect to be drenched if one passes you by (try to hide behind cars, trees, etc). It's industrial waste water - sometimes vaguely filtered sewer water...stinky.

BIke theft is rampant - even with locked bikes, bikes parked in bike lots, etc. The combination locks are extremely easy to circumvent to the professional thieves. Thieves will even pick up your entire bike and just walk off with it - cut the lock later - hence the advice to start with a cheapy bike unless you want to carry it wherever you go (like me).

You MAY want to opt for a lighter bike (more expensive) if security is an issue, so you can either lug it upstairs to your apartment/office/meeting place/classroom.

EXPECT your first bike to get ripped off if you're typically around high traffic areas. Trees are prolific - attach your bike to a tree. Thieves tend to opt for fast getaways.

Universities, shopping centers, etc usually have bike lots - although the guards don't do poopy - they're "somewhat" safer than parking anywhere (except for attachments to trees).

FINALLY, Kunming is at 2km altitude - the air is dry - so you'll dehydrate quickly in both warm and cold weather (especially in cold weather). Carry water (or a water bottle cage) - although beverage & cigarette stores are prolific.

Did I mention - wear a helmet!

blobbles (958 posts) • 0

I have too much time?? Laotou you just wrote a book! :-)

"It takes roughly 1-3 minutes to crack most bike locks and an unlocked bike is cash & carry."

Try about 20 seconds. My girlfriend had her bike stolen earlier this year. Right under the nose of "security guards" who were smoking and chatting at the time, the guy clipped the lock and rode off on it. This was supposed to be in a fairly high security zone (hence all the guards) outside a bank. We looked at the security camera that was pointed right at him - he used some sort of tool that went through the lock without much effort, not sure what it was, but it was small enough to fit in a small backpack.

Of course the security chief of the area couldn't give a s**t that there were bike thieves in the area and just brushed it off without investigating (even slightly) where the guy went, despite him controlling and having access to tapes to a 2 block radius (I suspect the bike was put into a mian bao che nearby). After we asked him what he thought his job was he literally told us that it wasn't his responsibility to look after peoples stuff. After bundling us out of the camera room, he got back on his little security golf cart and I spotted him about 15 mins later with his feet up having a snooze. Gives you some idea about the awesomeness of local security guards, not sure why people would waste their money on them!

On another note, these guys should be easy to bust, the number of times I have been asked if I want a bike by *usually* dodgy looking women at intersections.... thats where all the stolen bikes end up. Shows you the awesomeness of local police that they let these crime rings operate unhindered.

Magnifico (1981 posts) • 0

GAWD! reading all these threads about e-bikes and bicycles makes me want to vomit.

you gotta weld the battery, you gotta buy 6 u-locks, you gotta strap it to your chest 24 hours a day. you gotta sleep with it under your pillow!

getting it stolen is one problem. weaving your way around insanely bad drivers is another problem.

screw that. just WALK, take buses and taxis if you need to venture out further.

or move to Thailand.

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