Burning (it over) bridges

As the old saying goes: Rules are meant to be broken. Riding around the city in Chengdu, half the pleasure is knowing how, when, and where to break the rules. The strictures guiding traffic here are noodle-y, soft, and pliable. Example: New restrictions on the type of vehicle mounted luggage racks and frames have recently been implemented. This just causes confusion at the entryway to toll roads. A simple, “this rack is professional and not like the other ones the rule applies to”, excuse will earn you a wave-through.

Knowing when to straight-up ignore the rules is also helpful. A good example of how to do so is taking automotive-only bridges. Roadways have been designed to ease the flow cars, relegating alternative traffic to ground level mazes of one ways and construction. The easy work around? Never mind “DO NOT ENTER”.

It even works if a cop is in sight. Non-verbal cues work miracles. Upon initial contact, I offer a surprised, “how did I end up here!” look; eyebrows raised in terror, the whites of my eyes clearly exposed, jaw dropped. This has the power to halt authority from marching in your path, and attempting to rip you off your bike.

Cops have wised up to this though, so in the event you find yourself staring down a second line of defense, it’s useful to offer an expression correlative to the first. For this, I tend to purse my lips pushing the corners of my mouth out, while dropping my eyebrows I’ll make direct eye-contact, offering a terse, rapid, and affirmative nod. To prevent being stopped and scolded, point in the direction you know the cop wants you to go. There is a learned grace to the action. Keep your finger steady. Ease yourself gently over, following your pointer. As you approach the officer, hand remaining exactly where it should, pull the entirety of your bike and body in the opposite direction. Like a magician with a practiced slight-of-hand, the cop won’t know what’s gone past as you buzz around him, ignoring his suggestion.

If this isn’t looking like it’s going to work there’s the brute force alternative. Like a contender in a grand tour bunch sprint, pick your lane and commit. Give it everything you got and pray that poor dumb cop doesn’t have the gumption to try and tackle you.

Is it worth it? Yeah. Namely because you get a decent view, a little elevation bump and a more direct route. Not to mention many of these bridges have been immortalized as segments, and to ignore the call of a segment is to scorn the act of digitizing your ride.

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