Real bike culture

In 2007, Guangzhou banned the use of motorbikes within the city limits.  Rumored as a reaction to curb theft, decongest traffic, lessen pollution, and promote public transportation, it’s almost odd to see such a big Asian city without motorcycle traffic.  On the plus side, Guangzhou’s metro system has since been extended at alarming speeds, and bicycles are a common and useful method of traversing the city.

Bikes are everywhere in this city, ridden by people of all classes and ages.  People stack their books, their market finds, their puppies, their children on homemade rigged platforms on the back of their bikes. Not the ten speed ram handlebar sleek seat kind of bikes you’d see in NY, DC, or SF, but rather a clunky one-size-fits-all piece of worn-down metal kind of bike.  It doesn’t matter- all you need for an effective bike in Guangzhou is a basket, a bell, and two wheels.  And there’s something quite beautiful, in my mind, about these pieces- especially when they are sitting alone, propped against an old brick building in an alleyway…