Latest News:  

English>>Life & Culture

'Kingdom of Bicycles' rises again

By Yan Yiqi, Xu Lin and Xu Jingxi  (China Daily)

10:32, June 27, 2013

The graphics show the Chinese cities that have launched their public bicycle systems since 2008. (China Daily/Tian Chi)

China is again switching gears as the once-ubiquitous bike is making a comeback because private car ownership clogs the transport grid, Yan Yiqi, Xu Lin and Xu Jingxi report.

Xu Shima was 16 in 1980 and had to learn a trade. He chose bicycle repair. Over the next two decades, it proved to be a wise decision. At that time, China was known as the "Kingdom of Bicycles" and was home to the world's largest army of cyclists.

In the 1990s, Xu's business was at its peak, "allowing me no time to even pee during working hours", he jokingly recalls.

But in 2000, Xu had to abandon his trade. Bicycles, once a necessary betrothal gift for a bride in China and the dominant means of transportation from Beijing to Xu's hometown of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, had been squeezed off the streets by electric bicycles and cars.

Xu sold fruits and worked as a factory security guard to make a living. He had little interest in returning to bicycle repair - especially not in the years when people grew wealthy and private car ownership became regarded as a sign of success and a status symbol, while sweaty pedaling started to be seen as pitiful.

Yet the tide has again turned, and in 2009 Xu returned to his trade and now repairs dozens of bicycles a day.

Xu is one of 155 bike mechanics at the Hangzhou Public Bicycle Transportation Development Co and maintains the company's nearly 70,000 public bicycles in the city.

"I'm glad cycling is popular again," says Xu.

Inspired by the public bicycle system in Paris, Hangzhou launched its own project in May 2008. Authorities hoped to ease the city's increasing traffic jams, which have plagued many cities as private car ownership exploded.

【1】 【2】 【3】

We recommend:

Top 10 private gardens in China

Super cute moments of animals

Tastes and sights of Taiwan in Xiamen

Chinese garden offers green paradise in Sydney

Pregnant Yao Chen poses for Bazaar

Amazing Narati Scenic Spot in Xinjiang

Amazing scenery of Yamzhog Yumco Lake

Liu Yifei graces FIGARO magazine

Beautiful scenery in Beijing Garden Expo

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:DuMingming、Zhang Qian)

Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. PLA conducts parachute training

  2. People present wishes to Mandela

  3. Rescue operations resume in India

  4. A university graduate's shepherd career

  5. Father Chen and his 2,000 children

  6. Photos: Hazy life in Beijing

  7. Food Taipei 2013 exhibition kicks off

  8. Graduates hold fashion show in Hong Kong

  9. Chinese shares extend losses

  10. Setting sail into uncharted waters

Most Popular


  1. Prism program – who are the principal victims?
  2. Stocks hold steady, but brokers still cautious
  3. China 'most promising' in FDI
  4. Shanghai kids more likely to have asthma
  5. Money not the answer to all problems
  6. Syria conference unlikely to be in July
  7. Snowden not on board flight to Cuba
  8. Cause of human rights should ground in reality
  9. Snowden case should not affect Sino-U.S. ties
  10. Chinese consumer spending weakens

What’s happening in China

A university graduate's shepherd career

  1. Shanghai reports 1 H7N9 death
  2. 5 dead, 23 injured in NW China road accident
  3. Rehab centers face obstacles in China
  4. Sniffer dogs get new life with families
  5. Chemical plant blaze blamed on illegal work