written by:
photos by:
September 12, 2011

In this special five-part series, we're riding along with SWA Group landscape designer Amirah Shahid as she cycles nearly 800 miles from Beijing to Shanghai. Join us as she tells about her journey and files exclusive photos from the road in an attempt to better understand China's urban and rural biking culture. Week Two: On the road...

 

San Francisco-based landscape designer Amirah Shahid is a third of her way through her ride from Beijing and Shanghai. (Read our interview with Shahid as she was packing for the trip.) She's found local bike stores promoting cycling events and races, fast food restaurant parking lots turned into mass informal bike parking, fresh-water springs at which to refill bottles, and more. Click through to see her photos and read her notes from the road.

Packing lightly was key, as everything Shahid brought with her has to be carried and stowed on her bike. Here's what's in her two panniers and handlebar bag, including three changes of clothes that she washes in her hotel sinks. "I'm regretting the decisi
Packing lightly was key, as everything Shahid brought with her has to be carried and stowed on her bike. Here's what's in her two panniers and handlebar bag, including three changes of clothes that she washes in her hotel sinks. "I'm regretting the decision to bring a winter hat and extra wool layers," she says. "It seems unlikely I'll need them."
Photo by 
1 / 15
Upon landing in Beijing on a hazy afternoon, Shahid headed over to AECOM's office to meet designers living in the city. On the streets, "bikes, pedestrians, and cars share a separated lane," she notes. Why the car, we're not sure.
Upon landing in Beijing on a hazy afternoon, Shahid headed over to AECOM's office to meet designers living in the city. On the streets, "bikes, pedestrians, and cars share a separated lane," she notes. Why the car, we're not sure.
Photo by 
2 / 15
This graphic poster advertises an event put on by a local Beijing bike store. "The shop organizes cycling events and races to catalyze a culture centered on bikes," Shahid says.
This graphic poster advertises an event put on by a local Beijing bike store. "The shop organizes cycling events and races to catalyze a culture centered on bikes," Shahid says.
Photo by 
3 / 15
"A tree-lined, low-traffic road on the way out of Beijing was a nice break from the traffic-dodging I had to do in order to get there," she says. The newly constructed train station in the background connects bike commuters to the city via the parklike en
"A tree-lined, low-traffic road on the way out of Beijing was a nice break from the traffic-dodging I had to do in order to get there," she says. The newly constructed train station in the background connects bike commuters to the city via the parklike environment that follows the river.
Photo by 
4 / 15
Before beginning her adventure, Shahid met with current landscape architecture graduate students at Beijing's Tsinghua University. There, as well as at the city's Peking University (a scene from which is pictured here), bikes are ubiquitous as "cycling is
Before beginning her adventure, Shahid met with current landscape architecture graduate students at Beijing's Tsinghua University. There, as well as at the city's Peking University (a scene from which is pictured here), bikes are ubiquitous as "cycling is the primary mode of transportation for students living on campus," Shahid says.
Photo by 
5 / 15
After touring Beijing, she headed toward Hebei Province. "The wide shoulder and fruit stand were welcome sights," Shahid says.
After touring Beijing, she headed toward Hebei Province. "The wide shoulder and fruit stand were welcome sights," Shahid says.
Photo by 
6 / 15
At an intersection in Langfang, Shahid spotted this child hiding his head on the back of a bike.
At an intersection in Langfang, Shahid spotted this child hiding his head on the back of a bike.
Photo by 
7 / 15
The first thing she noticed upon reaching Tianjin was this Ferris wheel. "I biked in and immediately thought, 'I have to ride that,'" she says. Shahid also laughed at its shape, which so closely resembles that of her bike wheels.
The first thing she noticed upon reaching Tianjin was this Ferris wheel. "I biked in and immediately thought, 'I have to ride that,'" she says. Shahid also laughed at its shape, which so closely resembles that of her bike wheels.
Photo by 
8 / 15
"The landscape architect in me appreciated the openness of this simple hardscaped plaza breaking up the continuity of high-rises and construction sites in Tianjin," Shahid says.
"The landscape architect in me appreciated the openness of this simple hardscaped plaza breaking up the continuity of high-rises and construction sites in Tianjin," Shahid says.
Photo by 
9 / 15
Pictured here, cars, bikes, and pedestrians sharing highway lanes in Tianjin.
Pictured here, cars, bikes, and pedestrians sharing highway lanes in Tianjin.
Photo by 
10 / 15
This peaceful photo shows the agricultural fabric of Hebei Province, Shahid says.
This peaceful photo shows the agricultural fabric of Hebei Province, Shahid says.
Photo by 
11 / 15
"The McDonald's in Cangzhou became a large, informal bike-parking lot on Saturday night," she says. "Either the burgers are amazing or people notice that it's one of the few larger, paved spaced in the downtown area."
"The McDonald's in Cangzhou became a large, informal bike-parking lot on Saturday night," she says. "Either the burgers are amazing or people notice that it's one of the few larger, paved spaced in the downtown area."
Photo by 
12 / 15
Arriving in Dezhou, Shahid found a local bike shop and an owner standing at the ready with a syringe of bike lube. "I stopped in front of the store to check my map," she says. "Within second, without asking any questions or saying a word, the owner was al
Arriving in Dezhou, Shahid found a local bike shop and an owner standing at the ready with a syringe of bike lube. "I stopped in front of the store to check my map," she says. "Within second, without asking any questions or saying a word, the owner was all over my bike, greasing up its chain."
Photo by 
13 / 15
Shahid snapped this shot at the Baotu Spring Park in Jinan, which features several natural springs. "Visitors are invited to drink the water, fresh from the springs," she reports.
Shahid snapped this shot at the Baotu Spring Park in Jinan, which features several natural springs. "Visitors are invited to drink the water, fresh from the springs," she reports.
Photo by 
14 / 15
To close out this week's report from the road, Shahid sent this image of Jinan's canal at night, which "brought a sense of peace and quiet after a long, hard day of cycling." Check back soon for another slideshow from Shahid as she bikes from Beijing to S
To close out this week's report from the road, Shahid sent this image of Jinan's canal at night, which "brought a sense of peace and quiet after a long, hard day of cycling." Check back soon for another slideshow from Shahid as she bikes from Beijing to Shanghai.

Click here to read part one of the series.

Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

Photo by 
15 / 15
Packing lightly was key, as everything Shahid brought with her has to be carried and stowed on her bike. Here's what's in her two panniers and handlebar bag, including three changes of clothes that she washes in her hotel sinks. "I'm regretting the decisi
Packing lightly was key, as everything Shahid brought with her has to be carried and stowed on her bike. Here's what's in her two panniers and handlebar bag, including three changes of clothes that she washes in her hotel sinks. "I'm regretting the decision to bring a winter hat and extra wool layers," she says. "It seems unlikely I'll need them."

Click here to read part one of the series.

Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Rare green AD65 radio from Ecko.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016
amaroso40040
When a garage damaged by termites had to go, a studio emerges.
June 19, 2016
the blue lagoon iceland geothermal spa hotel water visitors
The famed geothermal spa outside Reykjavík, Iceland, is entering a major new phase—paving the way for the area’s first five-star hotel.
June 19, 2016
heaven on earth maya lin topography what is missing california academy sciences wood video
A new monograph by Rizzoli explores the memorial project by the renowned artist.
June 19, 2016
gable game austin texas cantilevered home facade windows upper level car port
For Dwell's annual issue dedicated to indoor/outdoor living. Here, we introduce you to the photographers and writers who made it happen.
June 18, 2016
Modern prefab lakeside home in Bloomingdale, New Jersey
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
June 18, 2016
Rectangular bento glass table with compartments.
These top-notch projects by design students earned a spot on our honor roll.
June 18, 2016
bozley all
Jory Brigham picks up his family’s trade and takes it in unexpected directions.
June 17, 2016
ph133407
The outlandish Belgian fashion designer, a member of the iconic Antwerp Six, creates a quirky pattern-filled capsule collection for the Swedish mega-retailer—with a high-tech twist.
June 17, 2016