If weather permits, bicycle is a great way to explore Nanjing. However, that is a big “if” that may affect your travel plans. Between June and August, the humid heat suppresses bicycle traffic during the mid-day. Some people may find it too cold to bike in the winter; however the streets are rarely covered in ice or snow. The rain is the heaviest during late spring and early summer.
Attendants collect 2 mao (0.2 Yuan) bicycle parking fees in busy areas.
Bicycle theft is a problem. If you are not going for any tough rides then pick up a simple cheap bicycle that you can afford to lose. Despite the theft problem, bikes are not locked to nearby poles or bike stands. The standard lock only locks the bicycle wheels in position.
Finally, bicycle licenses are required. These are composed of a persons name and picture and can be quickly applied for and issued at the bike store.
A few nice spots for a bike ride:
- Xuanwu Lake – A great scenic ride. However, bicycles are not consistently allowed into the gates.
- Purple mountain – This would be a tough but rewarding ride.
- Taiping Bei Lu (太平北路) – This tree lined street stretches from Beijing Dong Lu towards Xinjiekou. Several specialty bicycle stores are located here as well (more info to come later).
- Anywhere! Playing “bike until you get lost and then find your way back” is a good way to explore Chinese cities… or research a Synotrip City Guide for a city.