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Why are bicycles a major mode of transportation in China?

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨CCTV.com

12-10-2019 10:37 BJT

By CCTV.com reporter Zhou Fujing

Bicycles have always been popular and enjoyed popularity in China. During the 1970s and 1980s,the scene of riding bicycles to work was amazing. “Pigeon” and “Forever” are household bicycle brands. Until the late 1990s, China was a nation of cyclists.A massive “bicycle army” rolled through the streets of Beijing every morning.Bicycles were such a vital part of everyday life that in the 197080s, bicycles, together with watch and sewing machines, was a must-have item for marriage.

Bicycles placed in front of a cinema in Shanghai in the 1980

Bicycles placed in front of a cinema in Shanghai in the 1980

Different from previous decades, in the 21st century, colorful public bicycles have sprung up and people are seen scanning the quick response code and riding a public bicycle. It remains an indispensable mode of transportation.

Why it has been so popular?

First, bicycles are the best vehicle to cover the distance within one or two kilometers. Such distance is embarrassing. It takes 15 minutes or longer time if on foot; and it is a little bit of expensive if taking a taxi; and it would take several minutes or longer to wait for a bus. So, riding a bike is the best solution. The varieties of public bicycles can be seen across China’s medium and large cities that offer convenience.

Second, cycling is far from traffic congestion. Chinese metropolises, like Beijing, have some of the worst traffic gridlocks in the world. During the peak hours in the morning, the traffic congestion on the way to work can ruin the day and makes people annoyed. If the distance is not very long, riding is a good choice. Particularly in the spring and autumn, I feel like riding to enjoy the city landscape, breathe fresh air in park or on the way to work.

Third, bicycles produce zero pollution, which is one of the great advantages that public bicycles have mushroomed in Chinese cities in recent years. It is helpful for creating a green and livable urban environment.

Now, bicycles are more than a mode of outing, and cycling has become an important way for keeping fit.In Beijing, there are trails or paths for cycling only.

Chinese commuters ride bicycles passing through the Tian’anmen Square in Beijing on a September morning in 2019.

Chinese commuters ride bicycles passing through the Tian’anmen Square in Beijing on a September morning in 2019.

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