China used to be a country where bicycle traffic jams were infamous. Now that more and more people have attained an economic level that makes it possible to own their own cars, the sight of bicycles on the road is waning. However, in comparison to any western city, Beijing still has a large population of bicycle commuters.
One thing that is especially popular, and perhaps is part of the growing affluence of even the lower classes of the city, is the electric bike. Never have I seen it in such numbers! Most bikes look like they’ve really seen a lot in their time: sand storms, heavy wind, a few bangs and wrecks – yet through it all, a highly treasured possession.
For a mechanic here in the city, the hammer seems to be their favorite tool – out of alignment? things falling apart? Give it a good whack with the ol’ sledge, and surely everything will correct itself. Along this vein the Beijing bike often looks like it’s been hammered and beat back together many a time. Perhaps as a later result of these do-it-yourself fixes duct tape and rope are heavily used to keep things together.
If you ever visit Beijing don’t miss the Forbidden City, and Tian Anmen Square – but also keep a sharp eye out for the locals transportation
***Note*** This photo may look like an extreme example, but I assure you – it is not.