shu and joe

The Race

Published on April 23, 2006

She pedals across a few lanes of relentless traffic, maneuvering around impatient pedestrians, digging machines and the occasional unleashed dog. The back of the bike quivers with the weight of the days’ groceries and an exhausted toddler, sleeping her way through another evening sandstorm, absently gripping her mother’s sweater. When the cabs flick alongside her, daring her to compete, she stares forward, spits sharply and chooses to hang back, suddenly aware of her relative smallness in this world. Frustration levels into common sense and she relaxes her fingers on the handlebars. She gulps a breath and glances back at her now dreaming daughter.

In this city, cleverness pales against might, agility loses to brawn and bicycles steer clear of cabs. On the concrete track, the biggest monstrosities win with sheer bulk. I look over at the defeated bicyclist and imagine her inside a glistening black Land Rover, enjoying her strength and size and anonymity.

Filed under: Beijing, China

Leave a Reply