China: The Bicycle is BACK, Baby!

Over the past few years, you may have heard that the car was quickly becoming king in China…with newfound prosperity and a booming economy, motor vehicles became overnight status symbols for many Chinese. Along with all those new cars came a huge uptick in pollution, traffic fatalities, and all the other negative aspects we enjoy here in the United States, where the car still rules. So, I was greatly pleased to read the following article which appeared a couple of days ago in the online version of The China Daily:

After years of gathering dust in backyards and lockers, bikes have pedaled their way back into the minds of China’s urbanites — not as a transportation tool, but as a healthy, modern lifestyle.

Read the full article by clicking here.


  1. dukiebiddle

    broken links…

  2. Ghost Rider

    That’s weird…they both work for me under IE8 and Firefox.

  3. BluesCat

    Yeah, I had no problem with the links using Firefox and IE9 on Windows 7. Also had no problem with Firefox on openSUSE 11.4.

    On Topic, isn’t it ironic that now the “city of Beijing is working out how to include bikes in its transportation blue print by 2015,” when twenty years ago bicycles ruled the roadways?

    We have a similar problem in Phoenix, where post-war engineers designed the roads for automobiles, and today the traffic planners are struggling with how to include alternative modes of transportation — like bicycles — into the traffic system.

  4. Ghost Rider

    Yes, it’s crazy — and I suspect that China’s roadways were never designed for bikes in the first place, although use of them was ubiquitous on the streets. I have no idea if I’m right, but I would imagine China’s roadways were designed for transport of goods and military hardware, with everything else a distant second place.

    And, I think that’s the trouble here in the U.S. — retrofitting roadways for bike/car sharing is tougher than it appears; it’s not just a simple matter of painting stripes and hanging signs.

  5. Elizabeth

    I recently read this article too…

    “Once a cyclists’ paradise, the Chinese capital is now better known for its snarled traffic jams and unbreathable air, but bikes are slowly making a comeback as residents grow fed up with gridlock and look for ways to get fit.”

  6. Iron_Man

    I remember Bicycling magazine had an article a ways back (2007?) on Chinese Disco Channel rider Fuyu Li. He was an oddity in China in that riding a bicycle for fun and fitness was just not something that the nation participated in. They obviously had bicycles, but almost none were for fun, it was all utility. Decades of grinding poverty can do that.

  7. Ghost Rider

    @Iron_Man — I remember that article. I think that was why the UCI got all fired up to host a stage race there this year, to “expand competitive cycling to the Far East” or somesuch.

  8. John Romeo Alpha

    The China Daily is largely a propaganda arm of the PRC. In the first paragraph of the article, the words “fashionable,”, “modern,” “healthy,” and “lifestyle” are red flags, since they are commonly used in that paper in pieces which indicate a lot more about official policy of the PRC than any actual facts or trends in reality. If you are pleased about it because you are concluding this article indicates some sort of actual reversal of the flood of cars clogging China’s streets, you may be mistaken. If on the other hand your pleasure derives from the possibilitiy that someone in a massive and oppressive bureacracy was motivated to say something positive about bicycles, in line with official PRC policy and in support of furthering its ends of control and power, you are probably on the right track.

  9. harry krishna

    @john – i get the same feeling in the usa

  10. Ghost Rider

    @JRA — it’s common knowledge that this site is run by a sleeper cell of the Chinese government 😉 but you may be onto something, because a general Google News search doesn’t have similar articles from more reputable sources. Still, this appeared in their newsfeed for “bicycling”.

    I HAVE heard similar rumors that bikes are rebounding in Chinese cities…but nothing substantial. I hope it’s true, regardless of PRC propaganda spins. They could use a break from all those cars.

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