Archive for November, 2008

Information about Pollution in China

Dienstag, November 25th, 2008

There is a nice site with information about pollution in China called

Here is a short French video made by the French Radio Europe 1 about the air quality in Beijing.

If you are in China and looking for good anti-pollution masks from the British company Respro, then you should also check out that website. I always cycle in Beijing with the mask, especially on heavily polluted days. Here is a pictures of my friends that also use these masks. This picture was taken by another friend some months ago (thanks for the nice picture):

Friends with Anti-Pollution Masks

Cycling with Tianjin Fixed Gear

Montag, November 24th, 2008

What a great day of cycling. Our fixed gear friend Mike from Tianjin came just to visit us and ride with us. Unfortunately some of our Beijing fixed gear riders were sick and some had to work. So we ended up riding only with 3 people. While stopping in Jianwai SOHO we were directly spotted by some people as the most fashionable kids on the block. They took our picture and said they have an online street wear magazine. We were amazed „why us?“ but I have the feeling it was just a trick to get our contact details. I cannot enter the site name they provided… 🙁

Fixed Gear Bikes and CCTV Headquarter

We then rode to the Drum and Bell Tower of Beijing. On the space between the 2 towers there are always the pedal rickshaw guys standing around. They were fascinated by our bikes. I let them try my bike and as always all they guys and us laughed a lot. They are just not used to fixed gear.

Bike Rickshaw Guy on Fixed Gear

William received his beautiful bike just a few weeks ago from Japan. If anybody is interested in riding fixed gear with us or wanted to learn more about fixed gear bikes, then please join our fixed gear group on facebook.

Panasonic Fixed Gear

We were riding the whole day and then when it got dark went to the Olympic village. Mike did a free handed track stand in front of the Bird’s Nest on the Olympic Green. Unfortunately he had to leave at 10:30pm with the high speed train back to Tianjin. I hope we can ride together again soon.

Fixed Gear and Beijing Olympics

TREK 4th Cyclo Cross Event

Sonntag, November 23rd, 2008

Despite the cold temperatures (luckily there was no wind) we had another good turn out with over 40 riders. To save the spectators and the riders from waiting in the cold, we opted for a mass start. Remarkably, the kids’ race had a spike in attendance with 7 kids “battling” it out. I was riding with gloves at first, but they were outdoor gloves (as I have no cycling gloves). That was fine for 1 lap, but then I had a hard time to shift gears so I decided to drop the gloves after the second round. Suddenly at the accent with barriers the Chinese girl Hu Chen overtook me. I stayed at her back tire for the whole lap. After one lap she seemed to have no energy left and dropped behind. And Jenny was again far ahead. She is a really strong endurance rider. After about the fourth lap I again could hardly shift gears as my fingers were almost frozen. I also had almost no feeling in my toes. I think I need to wear warmer socks for the next race.

The winner were:
•    The ladies podium was the same as last week: 1. Jenny (CAN); 2. Ines (GER); and 3. Hu Chen (CHN)
•    The open podium was: 1. Mr. Liu (CHN); 2. Mike Bilan (USA) and Mr. Wang (CHN)
•    The advanced podium was: 1. Tom Lanhove (BEL); 2. Naran (MON) and 3. Dieter Braekeveld (BEL)

I was especially happy to see Tom finally win as he was there every race and had multiple problems like flat tires or leakages as well as problems like crashing. And he was riding ahead alone with a gap to the second rider. Dieter almost got overtaken by a Chinese rider in the final sprint. We had a special guest at the track. Noel Truyers is the chief editor of the cycling magazine “Cyclo Sprint”. It is the largest and most in-depth Dutch language magazine in Europe. Tom Lanhove has written a special article about Cyclo Cross Races in China and submitted pictures. I cannot wait to see the article.

Auditions and Ole Climbing Wall Opening

Samstag, November 22nd, 2008

This was again one of those days with many conflicting events. I chose to go to the auditions for the next interactive theater event planned for mid February. That was fun despite early morning. We had not only to act but also to dance at 9:30am. That was an interesting experience.

Then I went to the opening of the new indoor rock climbing wall and bouldering center. I was just in time to still participate in the climbing competition. It was with top rope on the 10 meter tall wall. But they chose the women’s route quite easy so they said the best person is who is fastest. It was slightly awkward to have a  technical route and then use it as a speed climb route. But it was fun. There were so many people there, quite a few of which I have never seen before. It is great to see the climbing community growing bigger every year. They also had climbers from the China National Rock Climbing team do a climbing performance. I helped them take some pictures on their camera but I did not take copies of the pictures. I am waiting for those pictures, then I will post them here later.

BLUG 6 Year Anniversary

Mittwoch, November 19th, 2008

The Beijing Linux User Group (BLUG) turned 6 years old today. So they organized a nice anniversary party in an excellent geek office.Here are some pictures from the BLUG webalbum. Here is some pictures of my friends:

BLUG Friends

Tall German Friends

Beautiful Vice President

Linux Penguin

The office has a lounge area with big screen and video games as well as a library of geek books as well as management and entrepreneurial books.


And guess what kind of food was provided for this anniversary? Yes of course it had to be Yang Rou Chuanr. Here is the evidence:

Lamb Skewer Sticks

Also just for your information: The new indoor climbing wall will be opened on Saturday. This is how it looked like today when they were setting up routes and testing them:

Climbing Wall

Today in the morning I had been at East 5th Ring Road in a park for filming an advertisement for a product. I had to ride my bike in cycling cloths. And damn it was cold!!! The lake in the park already had ice on it. They then had a motor boat crush the ice.

Global Warming Dinner

Dienstag, November 18th, 2008

Anna, Katy, Ollie, Nick and Jack are traveling overland all the way from Australia to the UN climate change talks in Poznan (Poland) in December. They are members of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and  had set up a dinner to meet with people who are participating in activities to minimize the global warming. There were people from the China Youth Climate Action Network, China Dialogue, another organization as well as the China Foreign Affairs University.

Part of the Dinner Guests

Sun, Blue Skies and Fixed Gear Bikes

Montag, November 17th, 2008

Wow the weather continues to be great! It was good to have Ollie (a fixed gear guy from Australia) here for visit who I cycled with through the city on fixed gear in this beautiful weather. We rode a full sightseeing tour from the CBD with the World Trade Tower 3 (highest building of Beijing) and the CCTV Headquarter (double-Z building) then down Changan Boulevard to the Tiananmen Square then around the Forbidden City to Beihai Park (with the white Buddha Temple) then up to the Drum and Bell Tower then around the Houhai and Xihai Lakes then through small Hutongs to Beilouguyiang and Nanlouguxiang. It was nice weather to sit outside for lunch, but it did get chilly for the hands during the later afternoon.

November Sun

Ollie and his 4 friends are actually traveling all the way from Australia by land and sea to get to the UN climate change talks in Poznan (Poland) in December. They are members of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. You can read about their unique journey on facebook. We had a great vegetarian dinner and then all went for some juggling and acro balance.

TREK 3rd Cyclo Cross Event

Sonntag, November 16th, 2008

Today we had the 3rd race of this season. Again I am too lazy to write my own report so I again took the great race summary from the newsletter of Tom Lanhove. Here Tom’s summary:

We are happy to say that we set our own record of attendance! We had 10 man “A” race, followed by an impressive 30 something “B” race. At least 5 women and even the kids’ race featured 5 promising youth, braving the wind and the bumpy course. Another fun feature was the high number of spectators giving much needed encouragement when the going got tough. A solid feature of cyclo cross is the “anything can happen” aspect. We had punctures, (harmless falls), broken gears and so forth. The race positions change often and abruptly making it fun for riders and spectators.

The winners of this race were:
• The ladies podium was: 1. Jenny (Canada); 2. Ines (GER); and 3. Hu Chen (CHN)
• The open podium was: 1. Mark Thirwall (AUS); 2. Mike Bilan (USA) and Mr. Liu (CHN)
• The advanced podium was: 1. Todd McKean (USA); 2. Hangkai (MON) and 3. Yang Wei (CHN)
The level of competition was very high this weekend. The top 4 ladies actually finished in the top 10 of the ‘B’ race. This indicates how strong these female athletes are. It also shows how cyclo cross is an “honest” sport where bike handling skills, running, overall fitness, power and endurance are key factors, leveling the playing field between men and women.
For pictures, please see the following links:
The pictures I have inserted here are all from Steve Johnston: Thank you for taking such great shots!

Women and B-Race Starting Line

Crowded First Lap

The B race saw a heated battle between the first 5 riders, with positions changing often. Mark Thirwall (AUS) and Yoshi-san (JPN) broke away with 3 Chinese riders + Mike Bilan (USA) chasing them down. When it seemed the gap was made, Yoshi-san smashed his rear gear shifter and he literally dropped away from the front. Mark was able to hold on to his lead with Mike Bilan putting up the best challenge, in front of a strong Chinese contingent. In a second group behind these front 5, we saw the four strongest women (Jenny, Ines, Hu Chen and Ms. Liu) battle it out. They overtook quite a few male riders, much to the delight ofthe neutral supporters. Jumping over obstacles is part and parcel of cyclo cross.

Uphil Running with Obstacles

Bumpy Ride Over the Fields

In the ‘A’ race, we had a 4 man strong race situation, with TREK’s GM Todd (USA), young Khangarid from Mongolia, Tom (Bel) and Yang Wei (CHN). Tom fell out with a puncture, skillfully repaired by Ines and Mike, leaving a heated battle between Todd, Khangarid and Yang Wei. They finished in that order at the end too.

Wheel Repair

Team Building Event

Samstag, November 15th, 2008

Today our Toastmasters Club went for a team building event outside Beijing. The pictures I am using here are from our CCTMC president (thanks for taking such nice pictures). It was a typical package with games on the bus. Then we were requested to make a team name, team flag, team slogan, team song and team pose. Our pose resembled how Toastmasters drives the fear out of anybody who wants to speak in public. I am sure that is clear when you have a look at this picture:

Team Pose

After that we did the „trust the team“ game. This picture is really nice:

Trust the Team

Then we went to the „overcome you fear of heights“ game. We had to climb up a pole, stand up on it (and it was really shaking in the strong wind) and then jump to a trapeze that was hanging far away.

Ines Jumping to the Trapeze

As only one of the organizing guys was belaying (the second one had to take pictures) I jumped in to make sure that the people who climb up the pole were actually secured on 2 points.

Ines Belying with Mountains in the Background

And then we went to the typical team building event of laser tagging. That means you dress up in army clothes, get guns that say „Made in Chna“ (yes there was the „i“ missing) and then shoot each other. I did feel closer to the team mates on my team as we had the same goal of killing all the others. But I still do not really get how this will help the team…

Our Superior Laser Team

At night I went to a Ladies Party at a friends house. That was really cool!

School Sport and Full Moon

Freitag, November 14th, 2008

Living next to a school sports field in China gives you a glimpse of what school sports or physical education must be like. There is specific music which is used for the general stretching while having all the students (it seems of many classes at the same time) lined up nicely in rows. The teacher is on stage with a microphone counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. 3, 2, 3, 4 … over and over again while the students have to put their arms up and to the side and to the other side and over at the exact same time. No wonder that China was able to have such a perfectly coordinated Olympic Opening Ceremony.

Physical Education for Children

And today it seemed like it was full moon even though that was already yesterday. I had 2 people crash their bikes into mine. First a guy who suddenly decided to turn to the side walk while I was passing by him on the right side. Well, I should not have ridden on the right side, but there was a taxi on the left. We both fell off our bikes but nothing happened. Then later in busy rush hour traffic I am overtaking a lady on the left side (this time that is the proper way to do it) when she without looking suddenly decides to turn left. And that having a young maybe 3 year old child sitting on the back of her bike without any kind of strap nor helmet. Well good that her child did not fall on the ground. But that was really crazy.