First off, I haven’t been to Shanghai for 10 years. Since I am here on business, I really wanted at least one night where I could enjoy some scenery and exercise, without being in crowded tourist areas. I coordinated a night bicycle ride with an expat riding group and we went out last night!
Thankfully, today was the warmest it’s been and the air quality was great! The Pudong location (across the river from Shanghai downtown) was not hard to get to, and had less traffic to contend with.
I’ll go into specifics about what you need to do this later. It takes a little bravery to get around on a bike, and it is not for the faint of heart. If you’ve ever ridden in a city that is highly congested- populated, like Denmark or Amsterdam or Germany. It is like that, but a little more sketchy.
Shanghai (China) has street traffic flow that is similar to the US. (Whew!) on the Pudong side of town, lots of new streets since it was built up post 1997 and last World Expo. The streets include a side divider that allows for bicycling and scooter traffic. A separate sidewalk allows for pedestrian traffic. However, cars often make random U turns, use the bike lanes, and traffic never really stops when turning. In fact, people often speed up. Aggressive cycling tactics and a basic deference to cars is highly recommended. People will yield to bikes (unless they are in large groups) but only if you have a nice loud horn!
Before freaking you out, going for a bike ride is also amazing and gives you a faster experience of the city than walking or being a normal tourist. You can glide through neighborhoods, skyscrapers, see the Bund from the Pudong side, and get a close up view of the Pearl tower. We also watched people floating paper lanterns into the night sky by burning them and the heat makes them rise and glow red into the night. LED lights and lasers are a popular with hawkers along the river front.
(forgive me if I duplicate photos.. I’m purely posting from my iPhone and China network is not allowing me to preview my photos.)
My friends and I rode a total of 17 or 18 miles in about 2 hours, stopped three times for some fun photo opps, but soaked in so much more!! We went all the way along the river so we could see the old expo buildings. The area is still quite a destination with high end restaurants, concert hall and museums. Obviously, many things are not open at 10:30pm, but this was a perfect time to explore.
I won’t get into the history or politics of the new area, but now, the area is quite unpopulated and it is a cyclist and runners paradise.. long wide streets next to the breezy river. 🙂
Things you need for a ride tour:
– app of the Shanghai Metro in your smart phone (explore metro -Shanghai is awesome!)
– talk about your expectations and route with your guide so you know what route, traffic you may encounter.
– tail light , prefer headlight, but definitely a horn or beepy noise maker. (mine sounded like an electronic duck, but that worked just fine.)
– water and camera
– remember to breath and relax when things get harried. cyclist cross streets in numbers and you wait for traffic to clear before crossing any busy intersection
– watch for cars and scooters, they will use your bike lane and in any direction. Usually they are cabs or cars trying to park or turn into driveways, but watch out.
-wear a damn helmet (should go for all tourists because you don’t know the rules and conditions of new cities.) You’re not as cool as the guy driving the Ferrari so don’t bother trying. No one is looking at you.
-local cyclists and scooters will probably look out for you because you are a danger to them. 🙂
– ride single file and even if you’re gawking at blinking high rises, stop and pull over to take a good look instead of accidentally catching a steel plate or debris and crashing.
Bicycles are still a means of transport for rubbish, fences, construction and the night was full of cycling older locals carrying loads and trailers along busy traffic. It was a bit of old and new and I was truly amazed to see it.