2 wheels, good. 3 wheels, crayzy.

China and bikes go together.  Well, at least, they used to … Just like most places undergoing hectic development, in China the joys of cycling are being eschewed for the supposed joys of motorised movement.  Where once the streets teemed with bikes, cyclists now jostle for space beside trucks and cars and electric scooters.  No wonder, then, that congestion and air pollution are sharply on the rise.   That said, there are still heaps of bikes here, used by the young and old, for commuting or just getting around.

Coming out of winter, I can understand the lack of interest in cycling sometimes. Imagine how cold one’s botbot would be on these bikes.

These hand warmers are pretty a pretty common sight, especially on scooters.  Many people fashion their own version, usually from sticky tape and cardboard scraps.

Here is a typical Chinese bicycle, sitting outside the front door to our apartment building.  This style is still being made, despite its heavy frame and slightly dodgy braking mechanism.  Where once it was safe to just leave bikes sitting around, people are now very conscious of locking their bikes to something.  Supposedly there is a lot of targeted theft – mostly from foreigners – especially as the socio-economic inequality of Shanghai widens.


Bikes are still used a lot for deliveries.  The one on the left has a refrigerated section for cold stuff.  The one on the right is actually from Seoul (and it is a scooter, of course) but I’m pretty sure it is the biggest pizza storage thingy I’ve ever seen.

They are also used for waste collection.  Every morning you can hear them doing the rounds, using a loud-speaker to blast out a recorded list of collectibles … computer parts, electronics, Styrofoam …

The Styrofoam guys are kinda famous here and you see loads of tourists running along the street to take their photo.  Their stacks can grow to ludicrously large volumes, at least double the amount in this photo.

Folding bikes are pretty popular too.  And some of them are tiny.


And, hire bikes are increasingly popular too.  I guess that as general bike usage drops, people require less committal access to bicycles.


There are some pretty amazing cycle contraptions here.  This guy had a modified wheelchair/cycle, with hand pedals and steering wheel.  He spent a good amount of time circling around so he could gawk at the group of people I was with, so I didn’t feel bad peeling off a few shots of him in return.  (Please note the Shanghai Pyjamas on display in the first photo as well).

And this one is something else … That’d be an office chair strapped to an electric bike.  Built for comfort, not speed.  While I am not fond of the aesthetic outcome, I am loving the ingenuity.



















4 Responses to 2 wheels, good. 3 wheels, crayzy.

  1. Justin says:

    Awesome collection of bikes! I likes!

  2. Adina West says:

    Great pics. I’ve seen three wheelers carrying boxes and boxes of freight too. Definitely not something I’ve seen much of outside China!

  3. Pingback: More wheels; extra crayzy | That Look Crayzy!

  4. jae says:

    HaHa, I enjoyed your post. Actually I’m korean, and I want to tell you that the box with the scooter from Seoul is not for pizza delivery, it’s for laundry delivery. 🙂

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