Reuse, recycle, bicycle

09:28, September 10, 2010      

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Hangzhou cyclists gear up for eco-friendly travel

Hangzhou will celebrate its annual bicycle touring day on September 18 in Qianjiang New Town.

More than 1,200 cyclists will pedal thirteen routes around the city in a bid by officials to encourage low carbon travel.

The move follows similar initiatives in European countries, where community bicycle programs have helped reduce traffic and lower harmful emissions.

Though China was once known as the Kingdom of Bicycles, the two-wheeled trend dropped off after opening up policies made cars affordable to the general population.

Now, apart from annoying traffic jams, air pollution and motor vehicle accidents have become a headache for local governments.

But such difficulties cannot be dismissed as an inevitable rite of passage on the road to development, said officials. Instead, they make a strong case for protecting the environment before things get even worse.

A recent report noted that if Hangzhou residents traveled 2 km by bike rather than car each day, it would save 2,000 tons of oil a year and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6,400 tons.

The city's cycling tour aims to do just that. Brought to the public's attention at last month's China-Japan-South Korea tourism conference, the event calls for travelers and tourism industries to take responsibility for the environment.

Hangzhou service outlets have offered to lend 50,000 bicycles for the event. Officials hope cyclists can take in the picturesque Xihu Lake, beautiful cityscape and buildings from the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279)

Route maps complete with bicycle service outlet and convenience store locations will be distributed the day of the tour.

Hangzhou bicycle touring day, organized by the Hangzhou Tourism Committee and the Hangzhou Sports Bureau, got its start in 2008. It is held on the 3rd Saturday of each September.

Source:China Daily


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