People usually say you always fondly remember your first car. The same could be said for China and your first electronic vehicle. The new sense of freedom is immeasurable — especially when you are no longer sweating to death on a crowded BRT bus during summer. The other thing revolves around not having to buy gas. It’s a big deal if you’re an American and you’re used to having to budget for such things.
My first eBike was a 60 volt scooter. It largely got me where I wanted to go, but it the more I got to know the city, the more limiting this bike became. If I was going slowly, I could get from Wujin’s college town to Xinbei and back. However, the battery would be dead after the return trip. Essentially, I could only go 30 kilometers before I had to turn around. After awhile, that became really limiting, and I started to pondering getting a new ride.
At first, I thought seriously about getting a motorcycle — even if were to burn a fossil fuel. However, the more I asked around, the more of a pain they sounded. Getting a motorcycle license is not exactly easy, they bikes are not cheap, and they are forbidden in certain parts of the city. A motorcycle can easily get impounded if you are in the wrong part of Changzhou at the wrong time of day.
This became a huge concern, especially since I actively thought about leaving Wujin for a job in Xinbei. Eventually, I gave up on motorcycles completely. I realized that if just bought an electric motorbike and paid for extra batteries, I could go the longer distrances I desperately wanted. Good decision. I also took a job in Xinbei anyway, and a motorbike would have been out of the question.
Of course, this meant paying a lot of extra money than your standard to-the-store-and-back set of wheels. Such things are never bought on impulse, and usually you should have a Chinese friend in tow. However, I wasn’t sure as to what I actually wanted. I did a lot of window shopping, and I used the experience to practice asking questions in Chinese.
Of course, there are plenty of places to look for these vehicles. One of them is in Tianning, right over the bridge from Wujin’s Injoy Mall. The Auchan supermarket is also nearby. It’s a massive market of intersecting roads, and nearly everything can be bought here from bike models to parts and accessories. They even had plenty of specialty bikes with custom designs and decorations. I was specifically looking for 72 volt rides where extra batteries could easily be added.
In the end, I bought my second eBike for someplace other than here. I opted for a smaller shop near my old employer in college town. Turns out, they had exactly the thing that I was looking for. However, if you are looking for buy a new ride, this huge market would be a good place to start — especially if you live in Hutang. It’s the same B1 stop as Auchan.