Sailing the Streets

There is something truly wondrous about riding a bicycle through the streets of Beijing: the sense of motion, the air and freedom, the breeze rushing past as you balance and keep afloat. Even the sounds of angry car horns decrescendo into simple aural reminders: a way to keep track of one’s surroundings without craning your neck every which way. “Negotiated flow,” the bike nostalgic called it.

I join the throng of two-wheelers, feeling a sense of camaraderie as we cycle the boulevards like a school of fish—scooters or bikes, single riders or pairs—happily sailing through the land canals of what was once the northern bicycle Venice.