Archive for November, 2008

Just Sunny Weather

Donnerstag, November 13th, 2008

The autumn continues to be great. Temperatures are going down, but it is still sunny and clear blue skies. Like today. Just perfect autumn weather! Here is again the forecast as from the BBC weather website:

Beijing 5 Day Weather Forecast

New Fixed Gear Bike

Dienstag, November 11th, 2008

A new member of our Beijing Fixed Gear crew has put together his track bike. Jack bought a nice Keirin Vivalo frame and after a long search found hubs and rims and all other parts. Here is a picture of it that he sent me today:

Vivalo Fixed Gear

Beijing Apartment Hunt

Sonntag, November 9th, 2008

How fun it is to look for apartments. Here two incidents:

We come to the meeting point with the housing agent on our old style Beijing bikes. When the landlord shows up the first thing she says to the agent is: „They have no money. Look what kind of bikes they are riding.“. Then despite the fact that we talk to both of them in Chinese the landlord tells the agent that she can go down to 4000.-RMB. The agent tells us then that the rent of the apartment can be 5000.-RMB. The landlord then tells the agent how horrible the former people living in the apartment were as they invited friends over and were really noisy (wew). They had music on (tse tse). The neighbors had to call the police (must have been really bad people). Despite the fact that the landlord then gave me a little small piece of paper with her name and telephone number on it when the agent was not looking we decided that we will not take this apartment.

Today we first met a housing agent A. She then met housing agent B (who we first thought was her partner, but we later realizes they are from different companies). Together we looked at a few apartments. One of them we just happened to pass by and they had their door open so agent A asked them if they are looking for someone to rent it. Agent A then took us to have a look at it as apartment 5. For apartment number 6 we were told to wait for someone to come, but we already had an appointment with another agent C so we said we need to go. Agent C did not want us to meet at the building complex (same one) but at their office. So we cycled there, waited for the agent, they finally came 2 people and one old bike. We then cycled at very low speed with this agent C back to the building complex. There agent C brought us to an apartment that we had already seen, but said we need to wait for the key. And do you know who brought the key? Agent B. We started to laugh really loud. But agent B said that now the guy for the last apartment arrived. And you can guess also he was not the landlord but just again another agent. So the two housing agent C guys and the agent B and this new agent D went together with us to have a look at that apartment. But also this apartment we will not rent even though it was not too bad – we will not pay three levels of agents.

TREK 2008 Cyclo Cross Race Round 2

Samstag, November 8th, 2008

Today we had TREK’s 2nd Cyclo Cross event at the Wenyu River. Our famous Beijing road cyclist Tom Lanhove has written a nice short report that I will just copy in here:
It was a few degrees cooler than our first outing but we had even more people show up.
The course was revamped with less riding on the dirt road, and more „crossing“ in the fields next to the river.
The change made the course overall more challenging, but it also reduced the amount of punctures. Where we had 4 or more last time, we had none this time.
My favorite section of the course were those sharp uphill zigzags, resembling a skateboard ramp as much as a cross circuit!
The race had its usual quadruple divisions: open, advanced, ladies and kids.

  • The open mens podium was: 1. Mr. Wang (China); 2. Mr. Liu (China) and 3. Mike Bilan (USA)
  • The advanced mens podium was: 1. Hangkai (Mongolia); 2. Tom Lanhove (Belgium) and 3. Naran (Mongolia)
  • The ladies podium was: 1. Ines Brunn (Germany) ; 2. Ms. Chen (CHN); and 3. Echo Yang (China)

For pictures, please see the following (more albums are sure to follow later this week…):
johnston2.4 on picasaweb
Cyclosportschina on Picasaweb

It was a really fun race with the technical sections. This time I had the impression that having a mountain bike would have given a certain advantage on the long section riding on the bumpy fields. I am looking forward to the next race. Let us see if I then can still beat Ben (I was pursuing him then he was pursuing me – just behind me in this picture)

Final Pursuit

And in the evening we had a house colding party as we will soon move out. But it actually did not get really cold despite all the friends that came. It would have been nicer if we had already found a new apartment, but we still have more than a week to move out of the old place. The search still goes on.

Rock Climbing and Mountaineering Center

Freitag, November 7th, 2008

The Ole Rock Climbing and Mountaineering Center is almost finished. The climbing wall is being repainted by an artist.

Ole Rock Climbing Wall Artist

The floor of the bouldering room is just finished. I love the one piece mat hand made to fit around the bouldering wall. No more twisted ankles because of overlapping mats or gaps in the mats 🙂

Bouldering Room Mat

Floor of Bouldering Room Entrance

Beijing Opera and Pet Accessory Exhibition

Freitag, November 7th, 2008

Today I went to the Beijing Exhibition Center for a German friend who owns a pet shop. I have never been to this Exhibition Center. It is actually quite nice:

Beijing Exhibition Center

This China International Pet Show (CIPS) was all about accessories for pets – mainly dogs, cats and fish. I was amazed how much pet clothes (but not for fish) there were:

Pet Clothes Booth

And a lot of other stands reminded me of juggling stands as there were so many balls and other small objects.

Pet Juggling Equipment

Pet Accessories

On the open space in front of the Exhibition Center some elderly Beijingers were doing a Beijing Opera Play. They had wild costumes, especially for the butterfly and the crane.

Beijing Opera

Beijing Opera

Tianjin Fixed Gear

Dienstag, November 4th, 2008

I met today with the whole Tianjin Fixed Gear scene: Mike.

Tianjin Fixed Gear Crew

He does not know anybody else in Tianjin that rides fixed gear so he usually rides with other cyclists. I brought my pink fixie on the high speed train (329km/h) to Tianjin so that we could ride together. It was awkward to ride through Tianjin at rush hour because the bicycle lanes actually got clogged up. I have never experienced a bicycle traffic jam in Beijing! Can you imagine that it took us 2 green light phases of the traffic light for us to make it across due to the bike congestion? I think there are more cyclists on the road in Tianjin than in Beijing. And the cycling lanes are more narrow.

Two Fixed Gear Bikes

When I was waiting for my 30 minute train back to Beijing we sat on the side of the train station piazza. Strangely enough it takes longer to get to the Beijing South train station from my house than it takes by train all the way from Tianjin. And the train ticket is not much more expensive.

Tianjin Train Station

After I rode on the back wheel and then surfed my bike and we immediately had a crowed around us. They left hardly any personal space – as always. They were all very interested in us two foreigners with the strange bikes.

Crowd interested in our Bikes

Mike and Ines

Fixed Gear and Chinese Improv Show

Sonntag, November 2nd, 2008

As the weather was so nice today I spent the afternoon in the park rock climbing. After that I met with 2 friends for bike riding. Unfortunately other fixed gear riders had no time or were injured.We cycled to the Olympic forest hoping that we can ride inside. But it seems to be fenced off really well, the gate closes at 5pm every day and no bikes are allowed inside. We cycled a loop around it on a freshly paved cycling path which suddenly turned dark (it felt like we were outside of Beijing) and then turned onto the 5th ring road (highway). The random bricks or line of bricks with some missing on the side lane of the highway was quite surreal. Then that lane just disappeared and after cycling on a highway kind of street for a bit then suddenly we saw again a beautifully paved bike lane again on the other side of some bushes. We cycled over huge empty Olympic parking lots with great surface for skidding and random small ditches and also some deep and quite wide sudden ditches. I was positively surprised to find out that we could cycle on the Olympic Green and play around on our bikes between the Birds Nest and the Water Cube Olmypic stadiums. That was awesome!

Tonight was the first show of the Chinese Improv Group. They did a great job. Especially the Olympic Ear Wax Pulling Event (last picture) was very funny.

Olympic Ear Wax Pulling

Sunny Weather

Samstag, November 1st, 2008

November starts and the same beautiful forecast: We still have sunny weather and clear blue skies in Beijing. I love fall weather here.

Beijing Weather Forecast Nov 1

Central Heating

Samstag, November 1st, 2008

Yeah! Our building complex has already started the central heating. The general rule in Beijing is that heating starts November 15th. But we are lucky!