i want to ride my bicycle

they’re everywhere – the cheapest, most basic form of transportation, just one step up from walking. 1 in 4 chinese own a bike, so that makes about 250 million bikes. from the oldest to the youngest, everyone grows up riding them, and rides them until well into their senior years. i’ve seen some fit 70+ year olds peddling heavily laden bikes. it’s incredible what they can be used for. add a seat and it’s a pedicab for income. add a small trailer and it’s a truck. add a basket and a child seat, and it’s a family vehicle.

they slip in and out of traffic, very often the only people getting anywhere. they never need petrol, and rarely need repair. these are not any fancy titanium mountain bikes, mind you. these are sturdy, lumbering, one-gear behomoths straight out of the 1940s. they’re never locked up, because who would want to steal them? the “flying pigeon” is the most common model. and it looks as plain and… well, common, as it sounds. but they’re the warhorse of the bike world. i’ve seen people toting 4ft piles of cardboard, a table and six chairs, fishtanks, sacks of rice, reams of paper, sewing machines, and stacks of watermelon – all on the backs of bicycles. in fact, china would grind to a halt without bicycles.

The “flying pigeon” – the unsung national hero.

Comments are closed.

  • Photos