Biking in the Dark in China

While we were in a China someone asked us to take a bike ride with them. That sounded nice and easy (heh!), so we agreed. Around 7pm we took a taxi to a bike shop where he rented two-seater bikes for us and some of his friends. We actually had 3 people on our bikes, cause we put the kids on an extra seat on the back. By the time we started, it was already dark; it's a really weird feeling to be bike riding around a foreign city in the dark. It wasn't too unsafe, because the main roads in the downtown area have these service roads to the side that mopeds and bikes and tuk-tuks and tuk-tuk bikes use; this kept us away from (most of) the motorized traffic.

After biking about 20 minutes, we pulled into another bike rental place where we found a much larger group of bikers waiting. It turns out that this was a bike club preparing for their regular biking excursion; our adventure had only just begun! We biked, and we biked, and we biked. They went out of town, onto small, dark roads, and then back in. As these bikes were not exactly up to Olympic standards--and neither were our bodies for that matter--it didn't take too long for several parts of our bodies to be pain. Fortunately we did have some water, and they took breaks from time to time.

After a couple hours, our host broke our group away from the peleton and diverted us to a place to eat. We sat around outside munching on seeds (pumpkin, I think), peanuts, spicy-squid-on-a-stick, and clams. Of course, there were some things we didn't munch on like the snails, the eggplant (it was unbelievably slimy looking), and something vaguely seaweed-like. We drank Coke--they drank beer--and talked for over an hour.

Finally it was time to return home. Boy, oh, boy was it hard to get back up on that bike. My posterior was incredibly sore, and I could not find any position that was comfortable. In the end, we made it back safely; we had been gone four-and-a-half hours! I couldn't sit in chair without pain for 2 days. But what an experience!

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