Friday, February 6, 2009

Lock that bike if you love it

Image of a Flying Pigeon bicycle from Urumqi, Xinjiang, ChinaDear Gentle Reader,

We all have our favourite bike.

And, unfortunately, many of us have had it stolen.

Your heroine's favourite bike was stolen from the main train station in Beijing when she went to university there years ago.

Mine was stolen from my parent's garage when I was much younger.

The owner of the bike below, in Beijing, knows better.

Image of a work bike in a Beijing hutong

His bike is his pride and joy and it is going nowhere without him.

Before we laugh too hard at his efforts we ought to remember that this bike is also, possibly, this man's most valuable possession.

Image of the second of two very large locks securing the worker's bike against theftWithout it he would not be able to do his work.

He would not be able to feed his family.

So he has good reason to lock it well.

Image of one of two very large locks securing the worker's bike against theftThis bike is like the one behind it.

There is a cart attached to the back of this bike.

This bike is a haul all meant for hauling anything.

I have seen massive, living clouds of chickens, tottering stacks of scrap metal, or ambitious mounds of broken glass towering over the heads of haul all bike drivers in China, and across Asia.

Another reason to thank our blessings.


Thinking of blessings, I entirely missed posting about the 250th anniversary of Scotland's Rabbie (Robert) Burns' (1759-1796) birth on January 25.

The Selkirk Grace might be an appropriate way to end this post:

Some have meat and cannot eat, 
   Some cannot eat that want it; 
But we have meat and we can eat, 
   So let the Lord be thankit.

[Aside: the Selkirk Grace was declaimed in Standard English by Rabbie Burns at a dinner for the Earl of Selkirk. Typically, at Rabbie Burns dinners, the older Galloway Grace is used and wrongly attributed to Rabbie Burns. 

For reference, the older Galloway Grace follows:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thanit.

Either way, we are far luckier than the gentleman who struggles every day with his sturdy bike and his heavier, precarious loads.]

Chris, Regina, and Pommes (all appreciating our meal a bit more, tonight.)


Barbara Martin said...

Amen to that.

Cloudia said...

From the dignity of a "coolie" (remember THAT term?) to the sport of the great poet. Cool post. I always loved Flying Pigeon as a rand name for a bike!
Our Heroine went to Beijing U? Cool! Aloha, my dear ;->

Barrie said...

That's a lot of hardware on a bike! That said, my 13 year old's friend had his bike stolen from in front of WalMart. In our town of abt 60K. Yikes.

Both Sides of Ben Marlan said...

wow, beautiful writing. i love those pictures.

Sepiru Chris said...


"There but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford" John Bradford (1510-1555)[from which we derive "There but for the grace of God, go I"]


Thanks, and of course! And I live Kowloon side, too, where the go-downs they laboured in were originally placed!


There is a lot riding on that bike; sustenance for a family, earned whether you bought or stole the bike...


Thanks. Welcome to my humble portal. The locks caught my eye.


Raph G. Neckmann said...

Wise and thoughtful Sepiru Chris.

We shall eat with giraffitude in our hearts too for our meal tonight; "We hae nae meat, but veg we eat!"

PS: Re 'You ask, I deliver:' genius loku required chez Raph!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Lovely to see those bikes. I have been to Beijing some years ago when there were few cars and millions of bikes!
Like the idea of 3WW but cannot see how to get my haiku on to the site - my computer skills are poor and the fact that I couldn't put the site onto my blog list threw me. So for what it is worth - here is my haiku on your site:

You crumpled my note
in our illicit affair!
You have got a nerve!!

Any instructions you can give me about getting on to the site and adding it to my list will be appreciated.

Sepiru Chris said...

Hi Raph,

I don't think I came through for you tonight. Not sure how much I like loku...

Hi Weaver of Grass,

I submitted it for you.

It might be an idea to make a little posting on your site with the haiku, so that people can leave you feedback... And I have put your address and the haiku on the site for you. I'll go through it with you later, now I have to run.


bindu said...

True - I have seen many men in India ride long distances to work on their bike after dropping off children at school on it - it is precious. When we have too much, too easily, we have nothing of value.

Lauren said...

That's pretty impressively tied up.

Candace said...

What a lush post, but so sorry, Heroine, for the loss of your bike. Crime is everywhere, I know but yes indeed for some that bike is a lifeline. There was a movie with Joaquin Phoenix wherein he was sentenced to death for his friend's tossing away a bike on vacation in a Celestial Kingdom.

Take care and oh, Chris, I was one of the very very few women ever allowed into a meeting of the Robert Burns Society Stateside back in the 90s.
Fun fun fun but those gentlemen certainly did not know what to think!
Your Correspondent in Athens.

rebecca said...

Hi Chris,

Yes, a gentle and compassionate post. And, as for me, I much prefer the Scots dialect Gallaway Grace better. It sounds so much nicer to the ear, don't you think?

Thank you for visiting my blog because it gave me a wonderful opportunity to come and visit is quite lovely. I will return...

rebecca said...

BTW, if you don't mind, I am posting this post of yours on my sidebar as one of the best this week's.....

simmers said...

I always thought that bike thievery should be equivalent to grand theft auto in the eyes of the law.

Steady-as-rain said...

With all this chitter-chatter about meant, Mr. Burns and co. were obviously not much concerned about vegetarians.

Heidelweiss said...

Phew! Praise heaven I was born in the USA (I would have been great in Canada or most European countries, for the record). I would FOR SURE die had I been born an average person in Asia. I'm FAR too lazy to be hauling glass around the streets of Hong Kong. I truly admire those hardworking people whose everyday lives are so much harder than anything I could possibly imagine. Great post.
HA! The word verification is "workings".

Sepiru Chris said...

Bindu, Everything is a matter of perspective...

Lauren, Heavy ware, too!

Candace, Lush! That would be your posts! I will have to look for that movie. And good for you for getting invited to a dinner. I am very partial to Haggis, especially to the toast for it. I would love to invite the Heroine to a dinner, but her being vegetarian has dire consequences on her appreciation of the culinary aspects of the evening. I am very glad that you were able to enjoy it, good on the men who saw fit to invite you.

Rebecca, Wow! I am flattered. Of course you can do that! I also, completely agree. The Galloway Grace is much more graceful and mellifluous to my ears.

Simmers, Hear hear. Talk to your legislators now!

Steady as Rain, True, true. But most were vegetarian by economic necessity...

Heidelweiss, Yes, you did luck out there. I hasten to note, this was from Beijing. You would not see this, like this, in Hong Kong.


floreta said...

very hard duty lock. the bike has character..

Sepiru Chris said...


That lock does have character, as does the nation. Hard, closed, strong.


Merisi said...

A man's most precious possession, tethered to a lamppost. Talk about fragile security.

I can't believe you forgot about Burns Night!

Sepiru Chris said...


It is too big to bring into his house,and I concur.

In Hong Kong, Burns Night was not celebrated until this weekend because it coincided with the Spring Festival... so it was shifted. But, I agree...