Adventure Close to Home
With commitments and obligations keeping me in the city for a few months before the next long adventure, I’d been yearning to get out on the bike again.
The milder and warmer spring weather around Shanghai was beginning to provide excellent opportunities to get out on the bike for local adventures.
It was time to get out the bike and explore some of the sights in around the city to “see what could be seen.” After all, in China, a country with over five thousand years of written history, surely there was something to be discovered and explored.
Practically anywhere you go in China, the Chinese people have a rich, robust culture foreign to Westerners, which makes for interesting places to see and experience.
The Historic Water Town of Qibao
The afternoon’s destination was the ancient historic old water town of Qibao, or Seven Treasure Town, which dates back to about 960 AD.
The name Qibao Zhen or “Seven Treasure Town” comes from the Qibao Temple located in the town.
The ancient settlement can be traced back to circa 960 and to the Five Dynasties Period and Ten Kingdoms Period. and has seen the arrival and passage of the Song, Ming, and Qing Dynasties.
With the Shanghai metropolis bustling around the remnants of a small water town, the ride showed the promise of an excellent afternoon getaway.
Quiet Canals Along the Puhui River
Qibao, the closest of eight water towns located near Shanghai, is situated along the Puhui River in the Minhang District about 15 kilometers among the bustling suburbs just outside the Outer Ring to the west by southwest of the city center.
Quiet streets free from heavy weekend tourist traffic made for great cruising and exploring on the bike. Local Chinese are generally very accepting of bicyclists as long as you’re minding your manners and showing a little courtesy to the pedestrians.
Popular with Chinese tourists, even in mid-week many can be found roaming the streets of Qibao, occasionally with a sprinkling of foreign travelers wandering about as well.
A living relic of ancient China, the little town offers well-preserved houses, gardens, shops, temples, and restaurants all constructed in traditional Chinese architecture that harkens back to the days of old Shanghai.
Narrow stone paved streets lined with small shops offering braised pork, hot tea, and other tasty snacks sure to please a hungry palette.
Pausing atop of the Puhui River Bridge makes for many scenic views along the waterway, which has been witness to so much commerce and now lies still, save for the occasional trash barge policing up any floating litter.
A Caffeine Stop for the Addicted
Starbucks is even getting in on the act with a coffee shop located on the perimeter of the Old Town. Those inclined to partake of a darker caffeinated brew can pull in for a quick shot of nectar before pedaling back to the city.
With the growing popularity of coffee in China, some sort of coffee shop can be found in most popular locations, making for pleasant stops along the way.
Adventure Need Not Be Far
When you can’t ride far, go local. Adventure and discovery needn’t be about vast distances. Just get on your bike and ride. Adventure’s often just a few pedal strokes away.