Modern China is a seductress; growing at an unprecedented rate, she’s the world’s next superpower. Five-thousand years of continuous history, yet it is in the fast lane to the future. She is beautiful, consuming, and a purveyor of products for the world. She is a supermodel that wears too much makeup. Communism suddenly is full throttle on commercialism. She is very enticing; attracting everyone’s attention by offering up the world’s largest population of new consumers. But it’s not easy to make small talk with a supermodel, let alone ask her for a date. But if you do, you’ll find she’s smart, funny, and down to earth. In fact, her parents were probably poor farmers and these young new Chinese entrepreneurs like Jay don’t put on airs or pretense. They don’t emanate entitlement, they embrace opportunities. Americans too are finding opportunity in their burgeoning economy. Harley-Davidson is but just one. I met US citizens like Ed Hsu (a Shanghai H.O.G.). Recently featured in the Wall Street Journal, he is American born Chinese who moved to China to open Awfully Chocolate franchises blogs.wsj.com/scene/tag/ed-hsu/ and owners of Grease Monkey, an American based automotive repair franchise. Yes, a billion Chinese still live in third-world conditions, but that world is changing rapidly. Twenty years after my first visit, China has changed dramatically and this time, she has changed me. Her unbridled chaos frightened me at first but now the rest of the world seems mundane. I found zen and the art of motorcycling China and am anxious to return.
Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart. - Confucius
Chinese H.O.G.s Paint the Town Red
Only two week’s after my return, Harley owners from both Shanghai and Beijing visited SoCal and we rode the Pacific Coast Highway from Surf City Harley in Huntington Beach, California, to San Francisco. With rented Harleys from John Wang, who is fluent in Mandarin and owner of EagleRider Rentals in Texas, and we headed up the coast. This group included the first Chinese woman H.O.G. member to ride in the US and several female passengers. Again Road Captain James Rice shepherded the Chinese H.O.G.s. James was invited to address the Long Beach Qingdao Association discussing international business. The “headquarters” was Westminster Harley in Westminster with dinner at Original Mikes in Santa Ana. Leaving for Santa Barbara early the next morning, we made a visit to the Solvang Motorcycle Museum in Solvang. Heading north to Cambria, Hurst Castle, Carmel, Monterey, then San Francisco, the Chinese contingent once again loved riding Harley-Davidsons up America’s coast.
Special thanks to HDC, Harley-Davidson China, the Shanghai Harley-Davidson Dealership, the Long Beach Qingdao Association, and Westminster Harley-Davidson in Westminster, California.