The Global Times newspaper reporter Ming Yue had come to our Smarter than Car (STC) indoor roller racing event (JisuPK) on Jan 22nd at Decathlon store. Here is the link to the article. And here is a copy of the article and the pictures taken by our fixed gear and road cyclist friend Ricky Wong:
- Source: Global Times, [10:08 January 31 2011]
Race to the start. Photos: Ricky Wong
By Ming Yue
Bicycles used to be the most popular mode of transportation in Beijing, but in recent decades they’ve largely been replaced by the car, taxi, bus, subway and pedicab. But Smarter Than Car (STC), a Beijingbased bike culture advocacy group, is trying to make bicycles cool again with a series of indoor races on stationary bikes, and so far 61 people have risen to the challenge.
The race, called Jisu PK, is divided into 20-second rounds where three riders face off on special refitted bicycles. The front wheels are nonexistent, and the back wheels have been fixed to the spot and fitted with sensors that can track the rider’s speed. Participants race for 300 meters, and whoever is the fastest is the winner.
“Today we did the 300 meters for the first races, and for the fi nal races we do 500 meters,” said Ines Brunn, one of the STC’s founders and also a bicycle lover.
The race on January 22 at Yizhuang was actually the second stop in STC’s Jisu PK series. The first stop was held January 15 at School Bar in Wudaoying Hutong.
“In China people think the bicycle is uncool and the car is cool. This event is to put bicycles on the stage and make riding bicycles cool and fun. We do this with a DJ and cool bicycles,” Shannon Bufton, one of the founders in STC said of the idea of Jisu PK series.
In the January 15 race, most of the participants were expats, but the champion in the men’s division was Sun Zhe, a 22-year-old Chinese student. “I’ve been doing road races for fun in my spare time for three years. But last time was my first time to experience Jisu PK,” he said at the Yizhuang race. For Sun, his championship was totally a surprise. “It is a really short race, and not quite tiring. I think it’s a test for the burst of strength.” But, since the fi rst bite, Sun obviously fell into Jisu PK and registered for the second stop in Yizhuang.
According to Bufton’s introduction, about 99 percent of participants preregistered for the Jisu PK Yizhuang race were Chinese, which was opposite to the situation at School Bar. However, Brunn says they still have a lot more to do. “Each time we do it is getting better and more Chinese people hear about it and get interested,” she said.
At January 22′s event, STC prepared 100 preregistration places, and people passing by in the market could also come in and have a try. “Hopefully members from the public will come in today and participate in the race. We have small bikes and big bikes. Even the kids can have rides,” Bufton said. “Though the average age of participants was probably about 23 or 24, there are also quite a lot of people over 40 or some are over 50,” he said.
The first name on the signing board was Shen Jingchao, a 54-year-old man living nearby. Having been a member of a bicycle club for three years, Shen has abundant experiences in biking. In summer, he rides his bike to his work place at Xiaoyun Lu from Yizhuang, a distance of about 28 kilometers. However, he said he came to this event just for fun. “If the races are based on di. erent age groups, I may have a chance to win,” he said. “But I came just for fun.”
Wang Xiucun, a 56-year-old woman, was quite easy to find among the group in front of the stage because of her bright red bicycle gear. She has been racing bicycles outdoors for 10 years as a hobby, but after trying out the stationary bike, she said it was totally different from riding outdoors, and she hadn’t yet grasped the best technique to achieve speed on it. In addition to Shen and Wang, there were quite a few participants over 40 in attendance. The final winners on January 22 were two young participants, but that was not the most important thing on that day.
The third Jisu PK race will be held on February 26, and the schedule is available on STC’s webstite, www. stcbj.com. In addition to the Jisu PK series, there are also some regular riding events, such as Friday Light Rides held by STC and the cooperation riding project, Bike for A Better Beijing, between STC and Low-Carbon Transportation Project of Friends of Nature.