Ctripper posts come to us directly from the good folks at Ctrip, China's top online travel agency (and proud sponsor of ChinaTravel.net). Stay tuned for Ctrip special offers, travel tips, news on new travel deals, tours and activities, and slices of life-in-China from Ctrip staff and interns. Coley shares his opinion on how to get to work: the greener and healthier way.... >>>
To preface, while I usually would like to use this column to let the world know how awesome Ctrip is/will be, I thought I’d take an opportunity to preach a little bit about one of my passions: biking to work.
While Chinese bike to work probably an infinity times more than their American counterparts, I find that among the expat and wealthier Chinese communities, a lot of people still shy away from taking the plunge. I ride everyday, 8 miles each way (uphill both ways ), and find that I’m usually the only one on the road who has chosen biking over a car or cab (or metro). There are plenty of other bikes on the road, but the common stigma here in China is that biking is for lower classes only. I want to change that.
For me, the decision to ride to work was simple math: if you have a 45 minute commute through a central, traffic-clogged part of the city, unless you are studying or doing something productive on that commute, you are wasting an hour and a half each day. I look at people staring blankly at the subway doors, or watching TV on their phones (all while standing perfectly still) as a cardinal sin, wasting your most precious resource: time. Not only that, but many people like to head to the gym after work, tacking another hour or so onto your day that you otherwise could have spent doing something more productive. When my gym abruptly closed last year, I decided that I would have to begin using all the time I wasted on the subway and in cabs on the way to/from work and the gym more effectively. Instead of wasting 2.5 hours a day commuting and working out, I now get to work way quicker than I did using public transportation … and I get a great workout on top of it. Arriving smelly isn’t an issue for many of us, with showers in our buildings or health clubs close by (if you’re in a big office building, there are more often than not VIP bathrooms with showers, just be sneaky). Safety is always a concern when you are biking, but always keeping your eyes peeled as well as biking extremely defensively will help you limit the risk tremendously.
I know that biking to work isn’t for everyone, but I would suggest that you read this great post which dispels many of the big questions people ask themselves as they prepare for this lifestyle change. I made the decision to bike to work, and haven’t looked back since. I feel healthier, greener, and generally have loads more time on my hands (which I may or may not waste on Fifa 2010, but hey, I still have more time!).
Good luck, stay safe, and I hope you enjoy the commute as much as I do.