A published writer
(The text of my article for the Shanghai Star. See the above images caption for more information.)
Rachel Levine, Student and Summer Marketing Intern at American Medical Center
Two weeks after arriving in Shanghai for a summer internship at American Medical Center, I bought a bike. Its low-slung blue frame, single gear, and high curved handlebars maneuver me reliably, if not always gracefully, through the one-way streets of the French Concession. At dusk, riding to dinner, I can watch the small patches of sunlight seeping through trees fade, and the neon start to take precedence. I spent the first two weeks here relying on my feet to get me where I needed to go, and now, soaring down the street on two wheels feels like a dream. The pace is something wonderfully soothing, somewhere between the rapid stop and go of a taxicab and the methodical rhythm of placing one foot in front of the other. Atop my bike, surrounded by the six o’clock smell of wok oil and scooters taking their riders home after another long workday, I feel part of an entirely different Shanghai.
Skeptics may question this last dramatic statement, doubting how much of a difference owning a wheeled device (motorized or not) can make in a new city, but they have clearly never felt the hot Shanghai air become a cool breeze by the simple act of hopping onto a bike. Owning a bike me brings me one step farther away from the traveller who walked off a plane in Pudong, and closer to a member of Shanghai’s vibrant local lifestyle.