Bicycles in China

Monday, 21 October 2013

TW admires bike 542
▲ I like this one! A colourful Chinese fixie.

While I was in San Francisco earlier in the month I noted that share bikes had arrived in the Bay Area. And there were some interesting bike trends around. From there I flew to Beijing, enjoying some wonderful views on the way, and straight on to Taiyuan, a town of three million population just an hour’s flight from the Chinese capital. And guess what?

Taiyuan bike hire 542
▲ Yes they had share bikes as well although, just as in London and assorted other bike share cities around the world, getting the bikes to the right place seems to be a problem. At this bicycle station this was the only bicycle available, at other stations I passed by (and there are a lot of them in Taiyuan) it seemed to be feast or famine, lots of bikes available or none at all.

electric scooters 542
Colourful fixies 271▲ A week later in Datong, still in Shanxi Province, but half way back to Beijing, a block north of my hotel was a solid street of bicycle, scooter and motorcycle shops. Battery powered scooters are all the go in China, they typically cost around US$300 or 400 and, one of the shops told me, have a range of around 50km. I’m amazed they haven’t been exporting them all over the world.

◄ Those colourful fixies are available in all sorts of bright colours. Check my recent Beijing blog to see the fixie hanging on the wall of Lonely Planet China’s new office.