X1: Life in the City - Me China Red - CycleBlaze

March 17, 2021

X1: Life in the City

Tongue Party
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Some of today's errands (Covid test, going to Decathlon) didn't get run, but the others (putting my bike together, meeting my sponsor's financiers) did. I also got in quite a lot more riding and quite faster than I would want to in any kind of city traffic but, as he was riding a battered urban sharebike, I couldn't exactly complain about the pace he was setting.

The new frame is still too small for me but it's less substantially too small for me than the old one was and, in addition to checking over my bike to see if I made any huge mistakes in assembly (other than not noticing that I'd lost an important bolt, I hadn't), I got 3cm trimmed off of my crazy overlong fork.

In the break between the bike shop and time for dinner, there was talk of potentially visiting the Stele Forest Museum but I hadn't brought his bike lock with me and, even if I had, I can't imagine taking only an hour to visit any kind of a museum worth visiting. Instead we ended up having drinks outside a youth hostel which, much to my astonishment, I recognized from my second visit to Xi'an back in 2003.

It's still too small and still needs a very tall fork but it's so much better than it was
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Graham FinchHow does the bike (and your body) feel after a day riding it? It seems like you won't get a stiff neck, what with the stem being up there. Are you happy with drop bars?

Good luck with the law suit!
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3 weeks ago
Marian RosenbergTo Graham FinchWhen I went from waaay too big and steel with 700c wheels to comically undersized titanium with 26" wheels, it was like apples and oranges.

The differences are much more subtle this time around. Also, I didn't ride enough for anything to hurt.
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3 weeks ago

My first visit had been a weekend thing to see a Hong Kong born Californian backpacker I'd met in Beijing. However, because of time constraints and uhh... other reasons, I don't think I actually saw anything in Xi'an other than the Huaqing Palace or the inside of our hotel room.

My second visit was perhaps four months before the conversation with Mr. Gao where I would be told that "starting from the October Holiday, foreigners can stay anywhere they want" but I had other reasons for wanting to stay in the kind of youth hostel that got listed in the Lonely Planet - I was an unmarried foreign woman traveling with my Chinese boyfriend; I'd just replaced a lost passport and was still using temporary identification; and, Peter really didn't like me spending so much money after I'd already splurged on us having sleeper berths both to and from Xi'an.

I'm pretty sure that's the room I stayed in with Peter.
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Dinner with the sponsor's business partners was at a frou frou place where our 'private room' was a boat shaped thing that we had to walk across stepping stones to get to. The food was good. Probably some of the best food I'm going to get for a while (though I have high hopes of being wined and dined once I start visiting the kind of sites which barely exist on the internet, aren't on electronic maps, and will require a bit of assistance from the local government to find). It was however very slow to come to the table, and I couldn't tell if the waitress really had messed up our order or if the person doing the ordering had.

I was so sure that someone was going to fall into the pond either while bringing us food or while leaving one of the private "rooms"
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Sponsor and his Partners all speak fluent German.
Sponsor and I both speak fluent English.
Partners and I all speak fluent Mandarin.

Separate from my not having expected that I was going to be making a pitch to convince Partners that Sponsor's agreed payment to me shouldn't be needing to come out of Sponsor's personal pocket, the whole language barrier thing made dinner quite interesting. 

If I had realized there was going to be a pitch, I probably would have asked for more money. For one thing, the number I had told Sponsor was cyclist-to-cyclist "the minimum I'm willing to accept". As it was though, my getting more than I initially agreed on with Sponsor was a cakewalk because he told Partners that I was going to cost 25% more than the two of us had initially agreed on. 

The nice thing about expensive places is that they don't blink when customers do weird things like bring their bike up in the elevator.
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He told me he thought this meant that there would be bargaining room for them to go down and this might have even been the case if what I was asking for weren't so absurdly reasonable. I'm pretty sure I don't have any paying clients for whom the amount we agreed on is even an hour's wage. 

As I also knew that—no matter what—if Partners hadn't agreed to what I was asking, Sponsor was willing to make up the difference, it was probably one of the easiest hard sells I've ever done. But, I know that if I'd been prepped for it, I could easily have gone for twice as much money.,

The result is that for the first 20 days of this Tour (which are all expected to be in Shaanxi) we have an agreement (which might get extended) that I will put a 5 second trailer at the end of every video I post on Chinese TikTok (for an average of 3 videos per day) and I get a fixed per diem that's roughly equivalent to 2x my expenses.

I'm also probably going to end up with Partners wanting to do other unrelated business with my translation company.

Today's ride: 37 km (23 miles)
Total: 37 km (23 miles)

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