In the warmer months, biking is a quintessential Beijing experience that everyone should try at least once. But anyone who has actually biked on the streets of the capital will also tell you that it can be one of the most harrowing experiences you’ll ever face, what with sidewalks just suddenly disappearing and scooters silently sneaking up on you or zooming against traffic, to name but a few of the dangers. So if you want to cycle through the city, especially with kids, is there a safe way to do it?
Yes, there is! After successfully navigating my way across the city multiple times with my kid in tow (and sometimes in the lead), I want to share the secret of safely going about Beijing by bike, and that is to follow the rivers!
We live near the Fifth Ring Road in east Chaoyang District and the river closest to us is the Tonghui River, which stretches from the Second Ring Road all the way to Tongzhou District for some 15 miles before joining a bigger waterway. My seven-year-old and I cycled about a third of it and back via the riverside pavement, without having to cross any streets and encounter any vehicular traffic, though we did come across the occasional scooter.
There's more to this story! This article originally appeared on our sister site, Jingkids International.
Images: Vivienne Tseng-Rush