I have lived a large number of years in China and Beijing specifically. Beijing is a huge metropolis with now very cosmopolitan population – as a result (I think) the city has largely moved away from using bikes to any significant degree.
Years ago, the streets of the city were clogged with bikes – as those provided the main means of transportation. Today, everyone has jumped in a car or in the subway and the bikes are few and far in between on the city streets.
After a recent outing to the Beijing Olympic park though, I have some hopes that the situation may change. Why do I say that? Because both the city as well as its residents are starting to pay increasing attention to exercising and enjoying ecologically clean means of doing so. The city is also spending large sums of money for maintaining the park and as a result I have hopes that they will start investing also in bicycle friendly streets and areas of the city.
Here are some photos from the Beijing Olympic park on a recent Sunday afternoon….
The park itself I can use also some paths for biking – there is certainly enough space based on the loading of runners I see – i.e.not that many, and given its large size can offer good opportunity for at least some exercise and learning to navigate a bike in the outdoors.
At any rate, I do think Beijing can benefit hugely from large usage of bicycles so any steps in encouraging that will be helping the city reduce pollution and congestion.