采访时间：2013年5月29日 Interview Date: May 29, 2013
Larry Adamson, whose Chinese name is An Boyuan, comes from the U.S. state of New York. He devotes much of his time to biology and immunology. He has taken part in 12 marathons, and he advocates cycling because he hopes that more people will take it up as a way getting from here to there and to better appreciate the city they live in.
Jacob Klink, whose Chinese name is Lin Gaogao, is from the city of Albuquerque, in the U.S. state of New Mexico. He has been cycling for over 10 years, and he is skilled on all types of terrain. Jacob is an expert at riding fixed-gear, single-speed, and variable-speed bikes as well. His talent does not end there, as he also excels at bike polo.
Judging from the current situation, China is nowhere near being the “Kingdom of Bicycles” that it once was. In spite of streets crowded with cars and their cacophonous horns, people remain crazy about cars. Still, Adamson and Klink (who speak fluent Chinese) jointly opened their fixed-gear bike shop, Natooke, on Xiaotiannan Street, a back street of Chengdu. Their aim is to show people how great and fun a life by bicycle in Chengdu can be.
Cycling-lovers Dream Big
The word, Natooke, means “green” in an African language. Ines Brunn, a German woman, opened her fixed-gear bike shop & club, the first of its kind in China, in Beijing under the same name. Adamson and Klink got to know each other through the cycling activities organized by Ines’s shop. They are equals in terms of their cycling skills, and they echo each other’s passion for fixed-gear bikes. Their common dream of promoting cycling in cities led them to start their fixed-gear shop in Chengdu.
Back in 2009, Adamson and Klink spent three weeks searching for the proper location for their bike shop, covering 3,000 km along the China National Highway 108 from Beijing to Chengdu. They really enjoyed themselves in discovering some obscure towns and villages. As Adamson said with a smile on his face, “[People] were very curious about us and were friendly to us. Although sometimes it was beyond us to speak in perfect Chinese, it was a golden opportunity for us to practice it.” Thanks to the growing amount of capital poured into Chengdu, and to its reputation as a livable city, Chengdu stood out among 11 candidate cities for the shop.
It is not possible to talk cycling without mentioning Pan Deming, who traveled out of China at the age of 22. He started his journey in the summer of 1930, with the conviction to bring glory to his nation and to break stereotypes held by foreigners about Chinese people being the “sick man of east Asia.” On New Year’s Day of 1931, he bought a British-made Raleigh bike in Vietnam and kicked-off his journey. He spent eight years traveling through over 40 nations, and met with more than 20 heads of state and celebrities. His feats represent the spirit of China and made him a heroic traveler, as well as the first bicyclist to pedal around the world.
Pan also wrote the book Words from Celebrities (or Min “Ren Liu Mo Ji”in Chinese). On the first page, he neatly wrote the inspiring words, “Everything I see through my travel around the world teaches me how to behave. I am grateful for all elements and humbled by beautiful moments. Deming will press on, come hell or high water, to bring glory to China and to let all people know that China is making progress.”
Aw Boon Haw, an overseas Chinese merchant residing in Singapore and the first celebrity who gave his words for Words from Celebrities,wrote: “I hope that you will leave your tire tracks on the world.” Nowadays, cycling has become a sort of lifestyle through which many people learn more about the world and their true selves. When Adamson and Klink were in Beijing, they and two of their friends often bought train tickets that would take them to a strange town located 400 km away from Beijing. They would go to the town Friday evening, and then spend the next two days riding back to Beijing. As Adamson said, “cycling enables you to see a totally different landscape than you can see by bus, airplane, or metro.”
Slow Down and Enjoy Urban Cycling Culture
In many western countries, people have had enough of the constraints of cars. They are longing to return to nature because even the rich have begun to ride bikes and appreciate the slow pace of life. Although Chinese people still prefer cars because of the private space and comfort that they provide, government and developers have reserved more space on the road for bikes.
When Adamson was asked why he loves bikes so much, he talked from a biological perspective, “A bike is the most efficient and independent vehicle because the rider is the engine. Fixed-gear bikes can make you feel this intimately. You will feel that the bike is part of your body and you are linked to it. As the bike is running, you can feel every part of it.”
“我们生活在一个故意被弄复杂的世界。”台湾漫画家朱德庸在一次采访中如此提到。他说：“时速100 公里的车和时速10 公里的车相比，你以为你走了很远，但其实什么也没有看到。人本来就应该在地上走，任何交通工具都阻隔了我与城市的接触。在所有的交通工具里，我唯一能接受的就是自行车。越慢的工具与人性越接近，从擦肩而过的人身上感受到气息和讯号，能帮助我了解这个城市。”
Zhu Deyong, a Taiwan cartoonist, said in an interview, “We are living in an artificially complicated world…A 100 km/hr car will help you go further than a 10 km/hr bike, but you will see nothing on your way. Human beings are supposed to walk on the ground. Any transportation vehicle will stand in the way of the connection between the city and me. Among all transportation vehicles, the bicycle is the only one I can accept. The slower a vehicle is, the better I can know people. I can learn more about this city because of the information obtained from people passing by me”.
Since Natooke was set up in September 2012, it has organized and sponsored many events such as urban night cycling, bike polo and alley cat races. Each Sunday, Natooke fans gather to follow a tricycle loaded with stereos and projectors to screen a movie with the aid of a wall in a residential community. The movies even command the attention and interest of urban management officers (or Chengguanin Chinese). Adamson and Klink are trying to better engage with Chengdu by bringing people back to the slower pace of life in an earlier era. They also innovate by using bamboo from Tiantai Mountain to create beautiful, eye-catching, custom bike frames. Their first bike with a bamboo frame has covered over 300 km in the city. For Natooke, using bamboo is part of an effort to promote green raw materials, green travel, and a bicycleculture that is linked to Chengdu’s culture.
The store of Natooke Chengdu was closed in November, 2017.