Are bikes still big in China?

I remember in the 80’s, and even into the 90’s I think, hearing about lots of Chinese people riding bikes and hearing about how it was the most popular form of transportation and I’d see pictures of lots of Chinese people riding bikes.

Lately I’ve heard how China is consuming a lot more oil, is industrializing, and Chinese citizens are able to make more money than they were before, and I haven’t heard anything about bikes being big in a while, I wonder if the “bike culture” already died or if it is dying.

China is still heavily into bikes. However, they don’t really have a “bike culture” per se. There was an interesting Slate article a little bit back about bikes in China that gives a decent perspective.

Thanks for the link. Yeah, “bike culture” isn’t quiet right, but it was the best way I could think of to describe it.

In my experience, bike use has declined heavily. Right now, the electric scooter is far more popular.

I see most people traveling by bus or taxi. Haven’t actually seen a bike in quite a while, now that I think about it

I am currently sitting in a restaurant in Shanghai overlooking a giant bicycle parking place on a main street near a shopping mall.

About 1/3 of the bikes are actually electric mopeds/scooters or less than 100 cc motorcycles.

Per capita car ownership is still really low. Mass transit has gotten much better. Shanghai has a big subway/light rail/rail/maglev system. something like 15 subway lines. system

As a wag, I’d guess 2 wheel transport to be 50-60% of 1980 levels…

Part of what made me ask the question was hearing about China has ramped up its oil consumption. It made me wonder if it was to make gas (or petrol if you prefer :)) for an increasing number of cars.

Increasing number of cars? Hmmm…well, maybe. There certainly are quite a few (I was in a pretty bad traffic jam a couple days ago. It was so bad, in fact, that the taxi driver pulled over and told me and mrs.kidneyfailure to get out because he was sick of waiting in the gridlock for so long), but they seem to be owned mostly by the upper-middle class or rich folks. Most of my friends and co-workers would be considered “middle class,” I guess: a bunch of college-educated people who own two-bedroom apartments and computers and cell phones. But among them not a single one owns a car. I’d say the bus is probably the most common mode of transportation in my area. **even sven **and China Guy are correct in pointing out, however, that a large number of people drive scooters or even the occasional big-ass “chopper” motorcycle.

Here’s a wikisite that shows China is ranked #70 for country car ownership or 128 cars per thousand of population. US is $1 at 765 per thousand.

And if you exclude the tin cans that would not be anywhere near street legal in a developed country, the ratio would be much lower.

Last time I was in Nanjing (3 years ago), there was still plenty of traffic in the bike lanes, I thought (more than enough to knock you down if you tried to cross the bike lane without looking). Plenty of scooters/electric bikes too, of course.

I’m sure it’s much different than the high water mark of bicycling in the 70s or 80s maybe, but it certainly didn’t look like bicycle ridership was dying any time soon!

No, they are the same sizes they’ve always been.


I’m here all week.

They just appear to be big because Chinese people are slightly smaller than average! :smack: