In the revolving door world of renovation and construction on the streets of China, the average rider is met with a subsequent series of trials and celebrations. Roads can be pitted or completely torn up. Sometimes they simply disappear to be seemingly forever walled off behind slatted blue or grey aluminum fencing adorned with upbeat propaganda: Today’s trouble is tomorrow’s convenience.
But in the progress and the push toward a brighter, more heavily paved world of glass and concrete, like a red carpet an ever-unfolding roll of fresh black tarmac is revealed for the eager cyclist. It’s a beautiful thing.
Transportation infrastructure for the people is moribund, regularly ceding ground to private car ownership; Something I’d care about if private drivers weren’t terrified to death of clobbering an innocent pedestrian. For the power of yield is an inverted structure compared to the automobile conditioned West. People and bicycles and any other form of transport that indicates you’re too poor to get around in your own car still prevail as the great authors of how and when traffic moves.
So we take our fresh tarmac, our endless stretches of pristine road built to sustain the crushing weight of the thousands of daily vehicles left idling on it, and we ride the hell out of it. It’s like being afforded a new formula race track any week. If a road you pass regularly goes into repair, it’s dog-eared until a brighter day—maybe a few months, maybe a few years into the future— when it returns reborn, a smoother more flawless tract of rippy zoom zoom space. This is what fun is.
Today’s convenience is a float along a road in all its fresh tarmac that amplifies your experience on the bike. So thank you, you sweet, sweet jet black tarmac. You may be taken for granted by some but I hold a special place for you in my heart.