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Old 11-16-02, 10:51 PM   #1
mike
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Future world for biker fantasy - China

How often bicycle enthusiasts talk hopefully of a day when the fossil fuel automobile meets it's demise and bicycles rule again.

Well, I just returned from China and that is as close as it comes. I had a chance to bicycle around Beijing for a day. Bicycles are still very prominant. bicycles have their own roadways and there are millions of people bicycling in the streets for tranpsortation.

There are personal bicycles, bicycle taxis, and bicycle lories. It is wonderful.

It isn't as neat as it was about 12 years ago when the bicycle absolutely ruled the streets and automobiles were rare. In fact, it is obvious that the bicycle is losing ground rapidly to the automobile.

If you want to see the fantasy bikeland, I suggest you go to Beijing (most other cities have already perished to the automobile). In a few more years, fantasyland will be gone like the Three-Gorges (sacrificed for the Yangtze dam project).

It is really neat.
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Old 11-17-02, 02:09 AM   #2
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Originally posted by mike
How often bicycle enthusiasts talk hopefully of a day when the fossil fuel automobile meets it's demise and bicycles rule again.
Did bicycles ever rule? I thought it went from horse to car with a little bike action in between

In reality isn't the reason china so bike populated a two-fold situation (probably more but these are obvious to me)

1 - immense over population where too many cars is extremely dangerous

2 - poverty - relatively self explanatory.

While it may be a fantasy land for cyclists it is a forced situation and not done by choice (I am speaking strictly from a non-involved point of view). If you offered one of those bike cabbies a new car that he could afford WITH more room on the road to do his job. I am pretty sure he would take it

It would be nice to see here but people are inherently lazy.
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Old 11-17-02, 03:39 AM   #3
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1. "How often bicycle enthusiasts talk hopefully of a day when the fossil fuel automobile meets it's demise and bicycles rule again."

When fossil fuel meets it's demise, we will use alcohol or some other kind of synthetic fuel to replace it. I believe we continue to use fossil fuel because it's too costly to change but the day will come when we are forced to make move. I wouldn't worry about it, you'll always have energy to drive that SUV.

China will go all car one day soon and we are seeing articles on this issue.
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Old 11-17-02, 04:24 AM   #4
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china is one of the worlds top leage industrial polluters
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Old 11-17-02, 10:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by mike
It is really neat.
Or was neat.

Every time I read about the big push for autos in China, I get pretty depressed. You've got the "big 3", among others, pushing to get everyone in China in a car. Where do we get the petrol? Where do we get the air fer cryin' out loud?
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Old 11-17-02, 04:12 PM   #6
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Indeed - be very careful about what you dream, as the dreams may come true.
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Old 11-18-02, 01:05 AM   #7
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It was interesting to learn that the term Critical Mass came from China, when one cyclist from US noticed how intersections work there without traffic lights.

When a critical mass of cyclists accumulates on an intersection cars slow down and the mass crosses the road.
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Old 11-18-02, 04:42 AM   #8
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Every time I read about the big push for autos in China, I get pretty depressed.
yes, me too.

a year or so ago, the Chinese government actually stated one of their goals as "displacing the bicycle to make room for the automobile" --- depressing

China and many other developing places, like say Indonesia, seem to believe that adopting the automobile is one of the prerequisites to progress and being rich like the West...

what's particularly sad is that these places have so many people that it is impossible for even half of all x billion to drive autos for personal transportation --- and the introduction of the automobile actually makes their transportation system LESS efficient.

and if you visit places like Bangkok Thailand that have pretty much already redesigned the city for cars you see the pollution and traffic and inefficiency that results when a poor, highly populated place converts to autos... many people wear face-masks to provide a little protection from the auto-exhaust or vehicles stopped in traffic.

for my 2-month SE Asia tour in 2000, i wanted to but did not make it to China... would still like to (going to Russia in January although only St Petersburg and Moscow for 10 days)
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Old 11-18-02, 06:16 AM   #9
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If you are looking for a "cyclists paradise", I'd suggest that Japan and Holland are probably better. At least there is a high standard of living in both places, as well as a representative government.
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Old 11-18-02, 06:53 AM   #10
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Japan i have yet to visit...

Holland i like but the main problem is that bikes are still subordinated to cars - there's a really old law in effect that smaller vehicles (bikes) must yield to larger (cars) which i think is backwards.

also, in the Netherlands there is really great bike-path network with signed trails connecting almost all cities as well as in the cities and parks. BUT, cyclists are generally NOT ALLOWED on normal roads which are exclusivley for autos (except when there is no bike path)...

haven't visited, but i actually think somewhere in Sweeden, Denmark or Norway may be more "cyclist's paradise"...

note: Germany's not bad, as are Portland Oregon and Montreal Canada.

Last edited by nathank; 11-18-02 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 11-18-02, 10:12 AM   #11
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My father, who lives in Houston, sent me an article about a bike shop in Houston that is building up a bike for Yao Ming, 7'5", approx. 300 lb., player for the Houston Rockets. He wants a bike to keep in Houston because no one in his family knows how to drive. They used only bikes in China. The frame is being made by Waterford.
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Old 11-23-02, 11:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by greywolf
china is one of the worlds top leage industrial polluters
BS
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Old 11-24-02, 02:34 AM   #13
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BS
While China does have a very real and very bad pollution problem. The USA with 1/4 the population of China is a much worse environmental polluter than China or any other nation in the world.

Anyway, I started this thread to suggest that those who are really interested in going to a fairly modern city where bicycles are still prominant, Beijing is the place.

You will ride with a thick stream of bicyclists in the sunlight of kite speckled skies and in the shadows of sparkling new skyscrapers.

Ancient dusty hutong neighborhoods beckon you to explore their narrow alleys. Wide boulevards escort you to brand new sections of town which suggest a 'New York City' built almost overnight.

You may enter the Forbidden City from the North Gate and thread your way to the mouth of the South Gate. From the darkness of the gate tunnel, you will POP out into the bright scene of Tienanmen. The giant painting of Chairman Mao above you meanwhile takes in the best view of all.

It is fascinating. I extend an invitation to this magnificent adventure to all my BikeForums.Com friends.
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Old 11-24-02, 06:43 PM   #14
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I used to think that there were no stupid Asians until I heard of that Chinese government quote about wanting to "modernize" with greater private auto ownership. Or, maybe the Chinese leaders aren't stupid, just all suffering from Alzheimers since it seems that Chicom party leadership doesn't fall to anyone under about 85! Whatever the case, it's hard to respect the intelligence of people in their government after hearing that.
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Old 11-29-02, 09:02 AM   #15
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Hi all,


Talking abt china, its friend turned foe India is also turning the auto way, littered with the ugliest kind of motorised vehicles you'd have ever seen(mostly two/three wheelers).

Bygone is the era where India too had its share of cyclists,
there were days(until early '90's) that a family/individual with a power to purchase a motorbike would not do so since such modern comforts ain't neceesary!

We still have cyclerickshaws, bullock carts, hand driven carts and of course a lot of bicycles, but the trend seems to motorising the cycle, which i hate the most.

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Old 11-29-02, 09:35 AM   #16
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but the trend seems to motorising the cycle, which i hate the most
this seems to be true throughout the region including many countries in SE Asia: Thailan and Indonesia for example.

on the one hand, it is a little sad to see bicycles displaced by mopeds and motorcycles and i understand your statement; but it is much better than Pickups, SUVs and luxury cars.

of course, most of it has to do with economics: the common people can more easily afford a motorbike and the wealthy usually buy large luxury vehicles as it's usually a status symbol to separate them from the masses. sad, but often true.

especially in heavily populated urban environments (from my travels, say Tai Pai or Bangkok) motorbikes make much more practical sense than autos b/c of advantages with traffic/parking. note: i was amazed at the number of very poor families that had a motorbike or even a car when a bicycle could meet most of their tranportation needs. but then the US is also similar: for many poor families the biggest single expense is often the car, often even more than a home. although in the US it is often true that you NEED a car to hold employment or are at least job-opportunity-disadvantaged w/o one (another sad state of the US)
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Old 11-29-02, 12:06 PM   #17
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Hey, iluvbiking:

Are you from India as in posting now from India?

If yes, that is neat. Welcome to the forums.
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Old 12-02-02, 09:41 AM   #18
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Hi mike,

yup, i am in India right now and i devote 10 minutes of my meagre 30 minute/day net slot browsing the bikeforums, aint that sweet?

regards
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Old 04-27-05, 07:57 PM   #19
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big cities in china are becoming less and less bikers-friendly nowadays
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Old 04-27-05, 08:28 PM   #20
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How many people in China can afford automobiles?
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Old 04-27-05, 08:45 PM   #21
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Visit Cuba, bikes get the right-of-way there. A tour bus full of tourists will drive at 10 mph if there's a bike in front and it's not safe to pass.
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Old 04-27-05, 08:58 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathank
this seems to be true throughout the region including many countries in SE Asia: Thailan and Indonesia for example.

on the one hand, it is a little sad to see bicycles displaced by mopeds and motorcycles and i understand your statement; but it is much better than Pickups, SUVs and luxury cars.
Aren't most of those two-stroke engines? I've heard those emit as much pollution as a whole bunch of modern (US) cars equipped with pollution control devices.
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Old 04-27-05, 10:28 PM   #23
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Oh please. This thread isn't about bashing China. If you want to go and wank about that, do that on your own time.
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Old 04-28-05, 03:39 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feldman
I used to think that there were no stupid Asians until I heard of that Chinese government quote about wanting to "modernize" with greater private auto ownership. Or, maybe the Chinese leaders aren't stupid, just all suffering from Alzheimers since it seems that Chicom party leadership doesn't fall to anyone under about 85! Whatever the case, it's hard to respect the intelligence of people in their government after hearing that.

Given the population density in some of the metropolitan areas, I don't see that as practical. It would be like Japan, people can get cars, drive them...but no place to park them... Even with bicycles, the traffic density is very high, so if people have one person/car, they're going to need a lot more space! Also driving is not that easy (think driving in Guangzhou) as it's in other places like Beijing. Personally, I would just walk or bike (or even take the bus).
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