Mission Accomplished - A Short Getaway - CycleBlaze

October 6, 2021

Mission Accomplished

Fenhu to Jiashan to Shanghai

The third objective of this trip was met:  a search for a place to buy gas scooters.  Long story on this one.  When I used to live and work in the hinterlands (at the time) of Fenhu, scooters were by far and away the highlight of exploring the area.  I made friends with other teachers who went on all these little scooter trips at the time after school and got very familiar with the area.

That familiarity meant I knew how to easily get around on this particular bicycle tour and also the location of a potential place to buy a new gas scooter.  I was doubtful the shop would still exist after 13 years but it wouldn't hurt to try.  As an aside, gas scooters have long been banned within Shanghai province itself, and that included all the way back in 2008/09 when I was working in the countryside.  At the time it was still very much possible to scoot around illegally and just avoid the police.  Sometimes they would let you off as a foreigner.  But as time went on they started going after the sources to kill off the market.   

The way they did this was to issue a decree that gas stations were prohibited to sell gas to scooters.  That combined with increasingly strict crackdowns meant that people just stopped riding and switched to other modes of transport.  Then the gas scooter shops within the city gradually dwindled along with repair places.

But the objective of this mission today was to source out the shops in Jiashan in the neighboring province, if they still existed, and how much were the scooters sold for.   While Shanghai itself was cracking down with gusto, it would seem like I had a chance in the countryside in neighboring provinces.  After all I saw many gas scooters over the last two days and this was an excellent way to get around for this area now as it always had been.

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Without using the GPS I found the shop in Jiashan right on the corner of the national highway G320 and the other main highway towards Xitang.  Everything was the same now as then, and the prices were even cheaper.  Not only that, there were rows of newer shops including some open until midnight.   I found a Honda shop and got chatting with the owners and he told me the gas scooters sold for 7500rmb on average, which is significantly less than I bought way back in 2009.  

This was a complete curveball surprise and a positive one at that.  The catch would be of course that I'd have to live in Jiashan to get a legally registered plate.  Even if I got one, they wouldn't be legal in Shanghai province so it doesn't make sense to bother trying.  Despite whatever the guy said about it being "easy", that is BS.  We know how China is.  So how about just no plates, ride it into Shanghai, and find a way to get gas in the scooter later (there are ways).

The shop owner most likely did good business with customers having a similar idea as me, as he mentioned himself that it was impossible to get a legal license plate in Shanghai while it could be done in his province obviously.  Regardless, I didn't buy on the spot.  I wanted to price them out and was astonished at the outcome.  As for when I'll buy one, that remains to be seen, but the challenge of course would be to find a way to get the bike into Shanghai and also source out fuel supplies.  Not impossible.

This is one of many roads across the porous provincial border. It would be piece of cake to ride an unlicensed bike across
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The ride back was rather uneventful aside from the heavy holiday traffic.  There happened to be a branch of a Maple Leaf school on the way that was particularly interesting.  I had taught at a different location way back in 2006 and a quick check showed they now had over 20 locations in China.  However, this 'Shanghai' location was even more isolated than Sino Canada I had passed by the day before.

Found this on the way
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There really isn't much around said school at all
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It was a race against time to ride the bicycle into Songjiang, that is the next major town, and try to find a coffee shop for an online tutoring class.  That turned out to be a waste of effort as just when I arrived the student had canceled.  I was pissed but decided to make the most of it and just chill at the coffee shop.

Racing for nothing
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Now if I had one of these on the other hand ......
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The riding then continued to the outskirts of Shanghai proper itself where I was treated to a wonderful dinner at my mother-in-law's place.  

All in all a very successful trip.

Today's ride: 95 km (59 miles)
Total: 235 km (146 miles)

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