Beijing Bike Share

Mundane Monday: Bicycles in Beijing

When I learned about China in school, I developed a mental picture of crowds of mostly identically dressed people riding bicycles in the streets.

China in the 1980s, photo credit: 网易看客:谁动了中国的自行车

Then I got to Beijing, and it didn’t look like that at all.

Traffic outside of Beijing Olympic Park
Traffic outside of Beijing Olympic Park

Our tour guide informed us that in the past 20-30 years, since the 1990s, Beijing has added many cars to its streets, most of them from Western companies. These cars are not the main reason for Beijing’s air quality problem; that comes from the coal-burning factories in the area.

But he also mentioned the song, “Nine Million Bicycles in Beijing” by Katie Melua, as if we’d all know what it was. Well, no, but at least my teenage kids didn’t know it either, until he found it on his phone and played it for us.

Bike lane near Olympic Park
Bike lane near Olympic Park

There are still more bicycles and bike riders in Beijing than in most US cities. Bike shares and bike lanes are very common, and people ride bikes wearing normal street clothing (not spandex) and often no helmets.

Biking along

In spite of intense interest in this question, nobody knows exactly how many bicycles are in Beijing now. (There may be 9 million stolen ones . . .)

They compete with the scooters and rickshaws as the 21.5+ million inhabitants of the city move from place to place.

For the Mundane Monday Challenge #119. Mundane Monday Challenge is a Weekly Photography Challenge that focuses on those seemingly mundane subjects that we usually do not consider taking pictures of.


3 thoughts on “Mundane Monday: Bicycles in Beijing”

  1. The old photo of China looks quite interesting. Was it really like that befeore? People wearing similar clothes and riding on all over the road? Or was it a picture from a special program or something? Anyway it is interesting to not the changes time has brought in.

    Liked by 1 person

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