‘The Best Way to See a City’

A marvelous little story in The New York Times: Reporter Katie Thomas took a ride on regular old civilian bikes with Olympicans Jason McCartney (U.S.) and Michael Barry (Canada). She wrote that McCartney seemed a little skeptical, but all that changed once they were riding:

“… As we coasted along streets that were as flat as a moo shu

pancake, McCartney was almost giddy. ‘Isn’t this the best way to see a

city?’ he shouted.

“And it was. Heavy rains a day earlier had

cleared Beijing of the humid air we all had been living with for the

past week. The weather had been so oppressive that McCartney was one of

more than 50 riders who did not finish the road race.

“We breezed

through Beijing in fast forward, pedaling past storefronts decorated

with Chinese flags, a mother washing her toddler’s face, a pair of

soldiers standing at attention. A block or two later, the traffic

cleared and the stone walls of the Forbidden City appeared. Through an

archway, we saw a cobbled courtyard, stately trees, and hordes of

Chinese tourists.”

[Belatedly: the story comes with a very cool two-minute audio slideshow. Some great pictures of working bikes on the streets of Beijing. Really well done on the part of the Times.]

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