Shanghai is tough on bikes. The roads are actually pretty good, but when you own a bike or a scooter you spend a lot of time going from A to B via footpaths and roadsides, and this can get rugged. This is because the big central roads are closed to two wheeled traffic, but as these are often the fastest way to get to your destination, and to avoid getting a traffic violation it’s easier to just go along the footpath amongst hundreds of pedestrians. Because, of course, that’s not a traffic violation.
All the unevenness of the footpath, what with missing pavers, piles of rubbish and oddly placed power poles, plays havoc with your suspension. There’s also the annoying line of ridged paving longitudinally dividing every single pavement in Shanghai, even the narrowest – apparently it’s for the blind to navigate by, but given that most disabled toilets require wheelchairs to go up several stairs, it seems like an unlikely concession to the sight-impaired. More than likely the Shanghai City Management got a cheap price on ridged paver factory seconds. They’re hell to walk on as well as to ride on.
So what do you do when your bike starts to suffer from all the juddering, bumping and shaking? Not to mention sudden braking when those pedestrians step into your path…..? Eventually your excellently constructed Made In China scooter begins to fall apart, bit by bit. Do you take it back to the shop and have it repaired? No. Do you replace the screws that have jiggled loose, with your footplate now adrift? No. Do as the owner of this bike did and just take out the roll of heavy duty sticky tape you keep under your seat, and tape the whole sorry mess together. Sticky tape the seat on, tape the footplate to the body, and sticky tape the front headlight to the handle bars. It’s the Shanghai way.