Getting a bike/e-bike when living in Hangzhou/China is one of the best investments you can do. You can get a new bicycle for as little as 300 CNY/350 NOK and an e-bike for around 2000 CNY/2500 NOK. I’m not sure if the smallest e-bike goes faster than a bicycle, but it’s for sure easier. In the morning- and afternoontime, both e-bike and bicycle are much faster than a car! Because of the traffic congestion it’s not always safe to bike. Here are my 5 tips for bicycling safe in China:
- Be aware of both cars and people walking in the cycle-path.
- Yes, cars and other “cyclers” do “beep” with the horn. They don’t always do it to tell you you are in the wrong place, but to warn you that they are coming behind you. E-bikes are very quite and because of that they may warn others that they are coming.
- Remember that a green light in China is not always only green for you!
- Don’t be stubborn, but give way to others.
- Take it easy and don’t rush. Although you don’t have control over what’s happening around you, you will have a better overview if you are slow yourself.
From the first time I was in China, two years ago, I have wanted an electric bike. I love to bicycle around, and I used to do that when we were in Sevilla and Valencia some years ago, but at that time my knees and general health was better. Today I don’t trust my body to hold up on a longer bike-ride, so an electric bike is ideal.
Now when I am going to stay here in Hangzhou, at least part-time, both me and Mr. No-Backpacker thought it was an excellent idea to buy me an electric bike. The problem was: How and where? Our Chinese friend said we could buy it online (it seems like the Chinese buy everything online), but because I wanted some more information I wanted to buy it in a real shop so we decided to do some research ourself.
The answer was Walmart. They have everything at Walmart! We brought our Chinese friend to Walmart and, after some waiting, bought an electric bike. I don’t know much about this, but here is what I know: The weight of the battery is 18 kilo (less then my suitcase, so I take it I will manage to carry it into the elevator if Mr. No-Backpacker is not at home) and it will last for around 30 km. I’m sure there are more information in the booklet we got, but that’s in Chinese….
And the price? 2059 CNY/2500 NOK.
There are of course some disanvantages with an electric bike and the worst is that accidents with electric bikes have increased dramatically in China the last years. However when I see how some of the Chinese ride, I can understand why there are many accidents. Some are just crazy! My plan is to be careful and never rush, never take any chances. Of course I know this isn’t always enough, but at least it’s all I can do to prevent. After all I think having an electric bike is easier than getting around in a taxi everytime I want to go out.