Healthy physical activities for kids are hard to find in Hangzhou, because the kids are locked up in school for about 14 hours a day, and allowed outside just long enough to remember what the sun looks like, and that's really just too bad, because a lot of us from outside the Middle Kingdom grew up with stuff like skateboarding, BMX bikes, and all the good times that came with it, but wait! What's that over there? Why, it's a BMX shop! It's true, and while it may not be the biggest that Hangzhou has ever seen, it's certainly the newest and most authentic. Sunday BMX Rider is a local shop located right in the heart of downtown that is for the locals, and run by the locals. It's got a full line of clothes from brands like OBEY, and a workshop for doing assembly and repairs on BMX bikes, skateboards, and other fixed-gears too. The owner is known as “Ying Mu,” and he took a minute to tell us that the relatively small band of riders in Hangzhou (currently less than 200 kids) who are pretty determined to learn from Chinese X-treme heroes like Shanghai's Shen Jian, Shenzhen's Xiao Yong, and Chengdu's Wen Qiang, are starting to grow a healthy scene in Hangzhou. His own obsession for the sport came after studying Traditional Chinese Medicine and deciding that he would rather open up a bike shop instead. While it sounds strange, his knowledge of physiology and his passion for riding has merged to form a concept that is rapidly catching on, and his commitment even extends into the virtual world, with a website (www.my-xgame.com) created by him and one of his teachers, that provides an informative Chinese BBS-style forum for riders. According to Ying, the most popular sport in this realm is fixed-gear cycling, because of the perceived health benefits from riding. However, there are a good number of BMX riders as well, and while they are often looked down upon by the more refined amongst the citizenry, and often chased off of properties by security guards, they have the same undying desire to master the art of expressing themselves through technical maneuvers on two wheels. If you're a rider looking for friends, or you just want to pick up some cool gear, drop by the shop. Parking is not a problem, if you ride a bike.
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