Amahia's China Adventure

Amahia's China Adventure, documented on the CyclExtreme web site, continues:
I'm astounded by life on the streets in Shanghai. The sidewalks are spilling over with people and commerce. Traffic blends the sidewalk and street together as pedestrians, cars, buses, motorbikes, electric bicycles, push carts, parked vehicles, construction workers and bicyclists all fight for space. At first it seemed like complete chaos but now that I've been out riding and walking in Shanghai, I think its more like an intimate dance. Despite the fact the cars come half and inch from you, despite that the oncoming traffic breezes within a hair, despite that bikes ride against traffic on roads that bikes are forbidden, despite that traffic signs, traffic cops and stop lights are mere suggestions and not the law, I am not afraid. If I were sending an audio postcard from Shanghai, it would sound like this: honk, beep, honk, beeeeeeeeeep, honk, tweet, honk, ding-a-ling, honk, beep beep honk. Every vehicle has a horn, bell or some form of noise maker. A honk from behind usually means "I'm coming up behind you" and is generally polite. Among the ubiquitous politeness is the nasty "Would you get your butt out of the way" kind of horn blast as well.

There are more bikes stopped at any one intersection than I think I've ever seen in my life. I'm giggling with pleasure to see all the ways a bicycle can be functional. At first I wanted to begin a list of things I saw being toted by bike and it included beer, other people, chickens, violins, large plastic water jugs, PVC pipe, rolls of fabric, refrigerated carts...but quickly I learned that anything goes by bike and quit making a list. In the US, the cyclist is so maligned that riding a bike has become an identity badge, but here it is a way of life. I'm sure any one of the young or old, woman or man, rich or poor people that I have ridden with on the street would think my bicycle euphoria odd.