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:
- 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 . . .