It is interesting sometimes how one thing leads to another. When I went out to shoot photos for "All Gum Tire Install" I went out looking for someplace new to photograph. This lead me down some local roads which I have never taken before. That's a pretty common in Beijing as the neighborhoods can be very intricate.
I had just finished taking my photos and was looking for an exit to the housing project I was in. This lead me down a small avenue of shops where I happened across a small delivery service: The Little Blue Hat Newspaper. Apparently they also delivered jugs of bottled water when they were done with their newspaper rounds. Regardless, The Little Blue Hat had a corral of ancient, corroding double-bar delivery bikes. Yongjiu/Shanghai-Forevers, in fact.
This delivery model is not actually listed on Shanghai-Forever's commercial website but the frame is similar to an SFB15. They also have fork trusses and a package rack apparently made from old battleships. The fold down side racks are for panniers and are similarly ironclad. A classic steed, even if it is a Clydesdale.
At first I thought I would just take a few pictures. The staff, which was having lunch and watching the entire time, thought this was great fun.
You have to understand that I have been looking for a double bar bike since I arrived in Beijing. SO I said to myself, "Why just take photos? Why not see if they'll sell you one? They're not using them."
So I walked into the Little Blue Hat office and offered them 100rmb for a bike. The laoban said to me, "C'mon! You know these bikes are 750RMB new!" Apparently she sized me up quite quickly. So 200 RMB ($29.25) and a significant amount of fussing later, I had my bike.
But all was not smiles and good cheer yet. The bike had not been used in a loooooong time. So long, that they had lost the key to the lock. Which meant I had to drag all 55lbs of the bike a kilometer to the nearest bike shop so they could cut the lock off. I also asked them to put some grease in all the right places of course.
But hey, it was all worth it.I not only got the double-bar deliver bike that I had long been looking for ...but it also came with something extra: a Name. More about my "Little Blue Hat" later.