„Biking into Beijing will be a piece of cake: first we go west along Interstate 102, then we hit the sixth ring-road and there’ll be a biking lane all the way till Tian’an men square.”- explains Volker. It sounds good enough to me. Nothing could possibly be worse than our exit from Dalian three weeks ago, which we managed to survive unscathed, except for shattered nerves.
Tian’an men square seems to be around the corner now, when we are merely 160 km away, in the county town of Zunhua. Here, in immediate vicinity of the Chinese capital, life still maintains human dimensions. No more economic development zones, no eight-lane empty roads, no brand-new outskirts with high-rises yet to be inhabited. The streets are flanked with three-storied buildings weathered by the elements, their ground floors containing the typical hodgepodge of restaurants, corner stores and workshops.