Author: zhangjudy

The good old days on China's Er Ba Che bike [Copy link] 中文

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2013-4-22 17:12:57 |Display all floors
1.jpg

Screenshot of Romantic Life (血色浪漫), a Chinese TV series telling love stories of the offspring of Beijing military officials’ families during the Cultural Revolution period (1966-1976). A group of young people hang out on their Er Ba Che.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2013-4-22 17:22:17 |Display all floors
1.jpg

Screenshot of Romantic Life (血色浪漫), a Chinese TV series telling love stories of the offspring of Beijing military officials’ families during the Cultural Revolution period (1966-1976). A group of young people hang out on their Er Ba Che.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2013-4-22 17:24:18 |Display all floors
1.jpg

Obviously, buying an Er Ba Che was next to impossible for the farmers of this traditional agricultural country who had to pay grains for tax first, to save such a fortune and then to find a source to get a ticket.
So what often happened in the cities was when people had saved up for months to have enough money for a bicycle, and still couldn’t get a ticket to buy one, and they had to turn to other “illegal” channels for “unauthorized” purchase. Some people with resources would sell extra tickets on the black market - it is said that three tickets would be worth 100 yuan in those days.
Er Ba Che is a symbol of the evolution of the Chinese people’s life and is something that carries a Chinese flavour in foreigners’ eyes. During China's economic reforms, Deng Xiaoping - China’s leader after Mao Zedong, once defined "prosperity" as every household having a "Flying Pigeon" bicycle. Being a symbol of prosperity, US president George Bush received two Flying Pigeon bicycles as national gift during his visit to China in 1986.
Following are some real life stories associated with Er Ba Che from China:

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2013-4-22 17:30:15 |Display all floors
1.jpg

Our family’s new Er Ba Che
When I was a kid, my father asked a friend of our family to help us buy an Er Ba Che from a department store in town. He didn’t ride it the day he went to take it home, but walked the bike for the whole journey which was about 20 kilometers! He was reluctant to ride it due to the concern that the rims might get deformed as the spokes of the bicycle hadn’t been adjusted. I still remember the make of the bike was Hongqi (红旗,red flag) for there was a logo of a unfold red flag right on the head tube. On the first night when the bike came to join our family, my father used narrow colored plastic strip to wind every exposed part of it because he didn’t want the original color to fade under the sunlight. He was doing it so carefully that just like a new mother change her baby’s diaper passionately and gently. And the rest of our family members, either sitting on the bed or standing on the ground, all watched his move under a dim yellow light. The elders said that the occassion was much more exciting than his marriage with my mother.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2013-4-22 17:31:35 |Display all floors
1.jpg

A father's Er Ba Che stories
The Er Ba Che of our family was my father’s transport to work and also a vehicle for my ride. My father asked the village carpenter to make a semicircular small chair with two fine long legs straddling the top tube as a special seat for me. So with my father, I got in and out of the village sitting straight in my seat and leaving behind me the envious gazing eyes of my small playmates. Not until I was old enough to block my father’s sight from the front seat, did I move to the rear seat. Nowadays cycling has become a fashion, but the design is "selfish" as only one person can ride. The Er Ba Che, in contrast, was more "generous", with a spacious back seat proving useful for carrying both goods and people. What’s more, it was comfortable to sit on.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2013-4-22 17:32:07 |Display all floors
1.jpg

My happiest memory of Er Ba Che was a trip with my dad to my grandma’s house. Perhaps my uncle Kangsan went with us that day. The distance was not long, about 5 li (里, 2.5 kilometers) , but my happiness Is hard to describe in words. I still remember that I saw a lot of scenery on the way, trains, birds, flowers and grassland… On the halfway it suddenly began to rain, so we stopped to hide under a tree for shelter. If it was now, I would have told dad never to seek shelter under a tree when it rains. Luckily that day it turned to drizzle soon and dad decided to move on. I remember that dad had been bending forward while he was pedaling as he was trying to shield me from the rain.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2013-4-22 17:32:57 |Display all floors
1.jpg

I became a postman in Urumqi, Xinjiang in June 1971 together with about 50 fellows from the same batch. The office gave each one of us a heavy Yongjiu brand Er Ba Che, and our shifu (师傅,a Chinese term to address a learned professional or a person that teaches you how to do particular things at work) would take us to get familiar with the delivery area. The delivery by bicycle was quite a test of riding skills and physical strength, especially in the winter of Urumqi when the temperature could fall to 20 or 30 degrees below the freezing point in a city of much rugged terrain.

Use magic tools Report

You can't reply post until you log in Log in | register

BACK TO THE TOP
Contact us:Tel: (86)010-84883548, Email: blog@chinadaily.com.cn
Blog announcement:| We reserve the right, and you authorize us, to use content, including words, photos and videos, which you provide to our blog
platform, for non-profit purposes on China Daily media, comprising newspaper, website, iPad and other social media accounts.