China Returns to Pedal Power

Bike-sharing programs are helping solve commuters' woes.

Beijing is one of several Chinese cities with bike-sharing programs now.

Photographer: Colin McPherson/Corbis/Getty Images

It wasn’t so long ago that rivers of bicycle commuters coursed through Chinese cities. As a means of navigating urban roads, two wheels couldn’t be beat. They were cheap (and China was poor), and Chinese cities were compact enough to allow for conveyance by pedal power alone. As recently as 1986, 63 percent of Beijingers used a bike as their primary mode of transportation.

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