New privately operated bike-sharing programs are hoping to reignite the public's love of two-wheeled travel. Luo Wangshu reports.
In the years before the opening-up and reform policy that resulted in China becoming the world's second-largest economy, the main mode of transportation was the bicycle, and footage of millions of people riding on the roads of major cities led many outsiders to refer to the country as the "Kingdom of Bicycles".
As economic growth provided better wages and higher standards of living, cars overtook bikes as the most popular form of transportation. The country is now the world's largest auto market, but the downside is that roads are gridlocked, leading to longer journey times, and air pollution has become a pressing problem.
Now, new bike-sharing programs are hoping to reinvigorate the nation's love affair with the bike, reduce pollution, prevent snarl-ups, slash commuting times and help people to live healthier lives.