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.
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
[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.]