Saturday, June 09, 2007

Everyday logistics: bike riding!

Many things in Hong Kong are beautiful and lovely and if not that, at least efficient and technologically advanced. And then there are the things that are none of the above. Like riding a bicycle. Getting the kids out the door and on their bikes is so arduous that it is comical. At least we try to laugh, if only to divert ourselves from the exhaustion of the relaxing weekend afternoon family bike ride.

First off, we must get out of the apartment. Royce keeps her bicycle in the apartment as it is a "new" Christmas present and she likes to keep it near her at all times. We squeeze her bike on to the elevator and journey down to where the rest of the bikes are. The other kids are forced (by us and the demands of space) to lock their bikes up on the P2 level of our building, sort of terrace level that connects all the apartment blocks and links to the pool, playground and parking lot. It is an okay space to ride except that you have to ride in a small circle, passing through a narrow hallway. Awhile back Adam crashed onto a cement ledge in the hallway, causing half his face to swell to about 5x its normal size. For this reason, no one is too interested in riding circles on P2 anymore.
From the P2 level, we must negotiate down three 30 yard ramps. Ramps that are too steep for the twins to ride down and only semi-safe for Tori. Usually Phil has to carry two bikes down while I keep a hand on Tori’s bike as she makes her descent. We have, of course, sustained two head concussions on this ramp since moving here. We then emerge into the parking lot, get past incoming and outgoing cars and begin the big load up in the minivan.

Often we ride our bikes along a paved path near Tai Tam Tuk reservoir. It is 5 minutes from our apartment, all green and with beautiful views of the reservoir. However, for unknown reasons, bikes are not allowed there. We have only been stopped twice (by park police in cars!)but in an effort to be legitimate we tried a new bike area today. We drove and found a residential circle (of about 1.5 miles) that has minimal cars and a sidewalk! We parked and got everyone going. The twins were slow and unsteady as they don’t get much bike practice here but Tori was fast and smooth. And then the rain started. Undeterred on our mission of fun, we pushed on in the rain and came to a small American run bakery right off our new bike path. With bagels and Peet’s coffee in hand, we could almost imagine we were on a family bike trip in the states. Except of course for the incense burning outside and the fact that our 1.5 mile journey felt epic.


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