Switching Gears and Bringing Cycling Culture Back to China and Taiwan

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Cyclists in Shanghai, China (Photo CC by Flickr user BadBrother)

(Elise Zevitz -- The City Fix) China is experiencing the fastest growth in bike sharing in the world, with 39 bike share systems in place, counting the latest addition from last month in Aksu, near the the Kyrgyzstan border. At the head of the 39 cities sits Hangzhou, which currently runs the world’s largest bike sharing program with over 60,000 bikes in service. That’s 40,000 more than the Vélib program in Paris, France.

Yet, at the same time, bikes have lost the wide appeal they once had in China. “In 1950, as a status symbol, every citizen had to have three things: a watch, a sewing machine, and a bicycle”, says professional fixed gear cyclist, Ines Brunn, who has lived in China since 2004. In the last decade, however, Brunn observes that the bike has become an image of the past and a mode of transport for those who cannot afford cars. However, local governments and their citizens in China and Taiwan are recognizing that more needs to be done to promote cycling as a commuter mode and a recreational activity, beyond implementing more bike-sharing programs.

Read the full post at The City Fix.