Tianjin bike lane hero grandpas curse out obnoxious bus 天津大爷加油!

I just saw something… satisfying. It’s this morning around 10:45. Traffic is horribly constipated and visibility is less than two city blocks even though it’s “sunny.” A bus has cut into the bike lane so he can sneak up the side and budge back in near the front of the line. Of course this means a whole line of cars have decided to ride his coattails — all of them displacing the cyclists. The masses of bikers, me included, have to jump onto the sidewalk just to get by. Maybe one bike could squeeze past, but just maybe.

I realize there’s something odd as I approach the bus, which is sitting about 100 meters from the intersection (卫津路/南门外大街和南京路): it’s not moving and its front door is open. Facing the bus, right in the middle of the lane, is a lone, stubborn, indignant old man on his bicycle, wagging his finger at the driver through the windshield and giving him a big tongue-lashing. The driver is just sitting in his seat with that safely neutral/passive posture you see a lot, not willing to engage. A middle-aged passenger who looks like he thinks he’s somebody is out of the bus and trying to argue with the old man, who’s having none of it. Me and the other passing cyclists are chuckling to one another; 加油, Grandpa!

I want to take a picture but decide against it. When the old man finally starts to move on I head up to the stop line at the intersection with the rest of the herd. The bus inches forward; with a high curb on one side and a guardrail on the other, the bike lane barely contains the bus. Wishing I’d taken a photo of the bike lane hero, I turn around to see that the bus has stopped again because another old man, this time on a three-wheel cart, has parked himself directly in front of the bus and is giving him what-for. This guy has a case, too, because there isn’t enough room for his sānlúnchÄ“ to go around and those things are harder to lift onto the sidewalk. The light turns green and I jump back onto the sidewalk to take a photo, but I’m five seconds too late, so the bike lane hero grandpas remain anonymous. Still, it was nice to see those lane-hopping ozone-puncturing asphyxiators get what they deserve! :)

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