Maria Holland

Mad Skillz

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2011 at 11:34 pm

While I was in China, I – like most visitors to the country – was continually astounded by the sheer amount of stuff that people managed to carry on a single motorbike. 

Families of five, 15-foot rebar, refrigerators or TVs, 30-40 full dispenser water bottles, etc.  Of these amazing feats of balance, strength, and recklessness, I’ve said that “Chinese people put more on a bike than the average American ever puts in their SUV.”

So now I’m at Stanford, and I again find myself impressed – on a daily basis – by people’s two-wheeled exploits.  The name of the game here is multitasking, not high capacity, but it is no less impressive.  People so rarely use their hands here that I wouldn’t be surprised to see dusty handlebars, and they don’t just let their hands dangle – they’re using them!

Things I have seen people doing while riding bikes:

  • texting
  • reading a map
  • reading a newspaper
  • putting on a jacket/sweater
  • warming their hands in their pockets
  • talking on the phone while drinking coffee

The last one was truly a magnificent thing to witness, as the woman executed a perfect > 90 degree turn with no hands and, as far as I could see, zero visibility. 

Only this state’s especially strict distracted driving laws make me feel okay about driving around these people . . .

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