Buying a Beijing-worthy Bike

They say getting your bike stolen in Beijing is a rite of passage. I only hope having it happen a second time means you’re a turbo Beijinger. This weekend, for the second time since I arrived in Beijing, I went in search of the perfect bike because two weeks ago, for the second time since I arrived in Beijing, my bike was stolen. I would explain how it happened, but I would end up writing events from my filtered perspective to try to make you feel sorry for me. Simply put, it was a set of unfortunate events and tactless decisions. I’ve tried to make it around without a bike for the past two weeks, but that has proven inconvenient and mildly more expensive, so once again I returned to a bike shop.

When buying a bike for Beijing traffic, one must take into consideration a variety of concerns, ones that I think I’ve pinned down after riding different bikes with a few setbacks. First, I need more than one gear. Typical cheap bikes in Beijing are usually limited in this area, resulting in a mass of slow bikers I don’t have the patience to ride behind, therefore, I need a bit more power. Second, I need a basket. Although the grocery store is a 15 minute walk away, there’s usually no way I’m making that trek with a bike readily accessible. (For the past two weeks Greg and I have stuck to this with me sitting on his handlebars. Now that’s determination…or stubbornness?) Third, I need a light bike. I loved the 50s look of my last ride; however, it also weighed like a bike from the 50s, which proved entirely too cumbersome every morning and night while retrieving and parking it in the basement of our building.

So based on these stipulations, I’ve settled on this beauty, with a heavy-duty lock to compensate for my forgetfulness.

5 Responses to “Buying a Beijing-worthy Bike”
  1. dicksonjohn says:

    As Borat would say – very nice.

    Great photos!

  2. dicksonjohn says:

    Oooooh. Love your new red bike. Would love to take a spin on it when we are in Beijing NEXT WEEK. Can’t wait! Mom

  3. 3rdCultureKidBetweenWorlds says:


    And perhaps I’ll trust you with her, Mom 🙂 First I’ll have to give you some lessons on biking in Beijing!

  4. Zach says:

    I’m moving to Beijing for the year (was here for 3 months last year) and want to buy a used bike. Where did you get yours? I’m living at BeiDa in Haidian.

    Love the blog! 🙂

    • 3rdCultureKidBetweenWorlds says:

      That’s great that you’ve decided to make the move! Beijing can be a very fun, eventful and interesting place to live. I’ve bought all of my bikes (still on the one in the post!) new at local shops. One good place to find decent used bikes is through forums on the beijinger, time out beijing, or city weekend. I’ve also heard of a phantom police garage where they sell bikes they have confiscated for a small fee, but I have yet to find it. Good luck!

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