Li Zhiqiang comes from Shandong province. He founded the Fire Dragon Pearl Motorcycle Club with his partners. Besides a store at Chaoyang Road, they have five more stores. Fire Dragon Pearl is not only a store for selling and refitting motorcycles, but also a club for motorcycle lovers. Li Zhiqiang is one of the vice leaders of the club. The club was founded a year ago and now has more than 100 members. They often organize a ride to Beijing’s suburban areas, or race at the Beijing Goldenport International Circuit, which is a very large racing circuit near the airport. The club doesn’t have a membership fee. They go Dutch when they drive out (the “AA”-system).
Most motorcycles in the store come from Japan, like Honda or Yamaha. German motorcycles are rare. There are only 2 BMW motorcycles in the store, which are both owned by the club leader. Usually, a motorcycle costs around 5,000 RMB. The price goes up to 10,000 RMB after the motorcycle is refitted. A motorcycle can reach 100 kilometers an hour, or 120 to 160 kilometers an hour after refitting. The speed limit for motorcycles in Beijing is 60 kilometers an hour, but they seldom ride in the city. They drive to suburban areas or race on the highway at night.
Li Zhiqiang thinks it dangerous to ride a motorcycle. He recently had an accident and now has a large scar on his waist. But they all wear helmets and driving together with many members of the club makes it safer as well.
Most motorcycles are imported from Japan. Besides that, there is a big market in “grey” imports. Since the devastating earthquake, the price of motorcycles has increased by about 30%.