Cycling Around Beijing 2

This is a continuation of the series I recently posted of cycling around Beijing during the recent pandemic related restrictions. These restrictions provided a unique opportunity to explore this great city from a new perspective. Hope you enjoy the images and short explanations that go with them.

Jingshan Park

Palace Museum; LEICA M11 50mm ISO-100 1/100sec f/4

Perhaps one of the most photographed locations in Beijing, the Palace Museum as seen from Jingshan Park, is still nonetheless stunning each and every time. The benefit this time however was that the platform, which is usually elbow to elbow and sweaty body to sweaty body, was empty! The negative was that the very top platform was closed so these were taken from a slightly lower elevation than normal.

Not as often seen is the beautiful and lush south view of Beijing from Jingshan Park. It’s too bad because in another decade or two, there will no doubt be hundreds of tall buildings blocking the mountains in the background.

South view of Beijing from Jingshan Park; LEICA M11 50mm ISO-125 1/100sec f/9.5

The west view at sunset is always something very special. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the park hours were reduced so we had to go down before sunset, but it was still magical during the golden hour.

LEICA M11 50mm ISO-64 1/320sec f/16

I’m not sure if these rainbow coloured wheels serve any purpose. If you know what they do, let us know in the comments below. Perhaps they’re used for art or to keep insects away as they spin in the wind? Regardless, they looked cool with the sun setting behind them.

LEICA M11 50mm ISO-250 1/125sec f/2.8
LEICA M11 50mm ISO-64 1/360sec f/1.2

Beihai Park

GFX100S 64mm ISO-160 1/50sec f/8

In this modern age, it’s great to see newspapers still being produced, and even better that this man spent a good 20 minutes reading one in the sweltering heat!

The famous White Pagoda up close; GFX100S 49mm ISO-200 1/320sec f/8
GFX100S 32.6mm ISO-200 1/80sec f/8

Wangfujing Pedestrian Street Area

LEICA M11 35mm ISO-64 1/2500sec f/3.4

For anyone that has visited Beijing before, you’ll know that this area is normally packed full of tourists. During the pandemic, there were still some tourists, but the street was mostly deserted. I’ve refrained from sharing that picture of the empty street, because I don’t want to amplify any messages out there about the pandemic. I’d rather show some semi normal pictures instead that demonstrate that life goes on.

LEICA M11 35mm ISO-64 1/1000sec f/2.4

Huamao Area

Hard to believe this is one of the main roads in Beijing during rush hour. Normally, this would be bumper to bumper cars, but at least it shows that life was still going on. There’s still some traffic jams on the arterial roads and on the route coming out of the CBD (Guomao).

GFX100S 64mm ISO-200 1/50sec f/8

I came across this new coffee shop called Issue 1 in an old industrial area in Huamao. Sadly, it appears to be new construction, but perhaps it will inspire the owners of the old buildings (from a power station) nearby to renovate them into coffee shops, art galleries and the like. It would be a true gem in such a high density area if they develop it in this way.

Something I don’t expect to find too often is a new Mexican restaurant. Happy to see this new place in the neighbourhood, although the concept is a bit strange. It’s called 17 Street Alley. Inside are mostly Japanese restaurants including a whiskey bar, and then there’s this one Taco Bar. It would be cool if they find a way to add a Japanese flavour to the tacos; then the whole theme of the restaurant complex will come together.

LEICA M11 35mm ISO-125 1/80sec f/2

Random Spots

I never tire of wandering down some random old street in Beijing and seeing the moody lighting. With the city being so safe, you can go down any small alley and know that you’re in for an adventure, but one that has absolute safety, with nothing to worry about. I love that about Beijing. It gives this special kind of freedom to go out and aimlessly explore new places and find new things.

GFX100S 32mm ISO-4000 1/25sec f/4

It was down this road that we came across a really funky Mexican restaurant where the owner had a full-on dreadlock hairstyle. The guy spoke perfect english and whipped up the most intense Whiskey Sour I’ve ever had. We ended up coming back to this spot a few times on our bicycles for the owner’s hospitality and his special drinks.

GFX100S 32mm ISO-200 1/105sec f/4

National Geographic hosted a super successful gallery in Beijing. It was as packed as could be given the social distancing requirements. People showed a very keen interest in the historic images. There was a shopping area at the end where you can buy National Geographic backpacks, bags, stuffed animals and so much more. I wanted to buy a souvenir but there was no chance as there was a long lineup for people to buy the National Geographic clothing and books. I was super happy to see this level of engagement in photography!

X100V 23mm ISO-320 1/210sec f/2.8

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2 thoughts on “Cycling Around Beijing 2”

  1. Thank your the lovely photos and interesting comments. I genuinely enjoyed this two part series about cycling around Beijing.
    Please keep them coming …

    1. Thanks Christoph. I have a backlog of posts that I’m trying to write up. I think you’ll enjoy a few posts coming up about day-camping in Beijing. It’s become a big thing here (and likely in other parts of China) given the COVID related hassles of travelling outside of the city. Thanks again for writing in, always appreciate hearing from you.

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