I Bought a Bike

by Alex Duncan  |  July 4, 2011 – 8:20 am



After only 3 days in 大连 (Dalian) the withdrawal symptoms from not riding my bike were simply too great and I had to go and buy myself a bike. Early on Sunday morning I took a tram into the centre of town, typed “bike shop” into Google maps on my phone and made a beeline for the nearest store. It just happened to be 天地行 (TīanDìXíng) owned by a 张毅 (ZhāngYì) who in his day had been a member of the Chinese cycling team. Since I’m only in Dalian for 3 months I didn’t want to spend too much money, but there wasn’t anything very low end in the store, prices started around the 1500元 mark. Fumbling my way through with my Chinese I explained my predicament to 张毅, he seemed very understanding and did me a deal on a low end mountain bike on top of which he even agreed to buy it back from me in 3 months time at half what I paid for it.

In my 4 years in Shanghai I’ve had 4 bikes stolen in various different situations. On top of that I’ve even caught thieves in the act of stealing my bike on two more occasions, one time even chasing the thief around in circles across a busy intersection finally landing him a couple of blows to the head. As you can imagine this has made me hypersensitive to bike theft to the point at which my bike lock cost half as much as my last bike and probably weighs almost the same too. I asked 张毅 which lock he recommends and I was shocked when he said even if I didn’t have a lock nobody would steal my bike. To be on the safe side I bought the only model he kept in stock a little wiry thing that would doubtless take a Shanghai thief literally seconds to break open.

I hadn’t remembered noticing it on the tram journey into town, but it was only once I left the store that I realised just how hilly Dalian is. I was too used to Shanghai’s flatness no wonder I found riding around Shanghai so convenient, there isn’t a hill for tens of miles. The biggest change in elevation my bike ever experiences it taking the lift up to my flat on the 3rd floor. On the 9km trip from the centre of town to my flat I encountered no less than 4 small hills, riding in Dalian is going to be a much greater test of my fitness. Never again will I brag about the huge distances I cover every week in Shanghai after riding for a few months in Dalian it doubtless won’t be worth mentioning.

I have google’s MyTracks app installed on my phone so I’ll try to find time to record and post a few routes.

Update: bike is not doing too well so far, 8 days in and the front mud guard has fallen off, a pedal has broken and the cranks are loose. Triace is not a brand I recommend.