Urban cycling prevails in Olympic twin city – Xinhua
Na Liang drives along Chang’an Avenue near Tian’anmen Square in Beijing on August 1, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Na Liang)
Cycling has become a trending sport in Beijing as locals ride bicycles in urban and suburban areas of the capital to enjoy their free time.
BEIJING, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) — Every evening on Beijing’s Chang’an Avenue, sports bikes and shared bikes pass the iconic Tian’anmen Square with twinkling lights, painting a charming picture of the double Olympic city.
Cycling is so prevalent in modern Chinese cities that luxury bicycles with a price tag of over 10,000 yuan (US$1,500) are not uncommon.
“Since the beginning of this year, cycling has become even more popular in Beijing. Many residents cycle in urban and suburban areas of the capital to enjoy their free time this summer,” said Na Liang, head of a bicycle club in Beijing.
Chang’an Avenue is a favorite among cyclists, not only because of its spacious bike lane, but also because it encompasses several landmarks of the capital, such as Tian’anmen Square, the National Center for performing arts and the National Museum of China.
Na says that cyclists can feel the modern and historic features of the city along this avenue.
“Beijing’s Second Ring Road is also a favorable route for cyclists,” he added, saying clear signs at intersections and on bridges remind motorists to watch out for cyclists.
Last year, the sidewalk and cycle lane on the second ring road were widened to increase the width of the lane reserved for non-motorized vehicles to three metres.
Na Liang rides with club members near Beijing’s Second Ring Road on July 18 (Photo courtesy of Na Liang)
Beijing’s Chaoyang District has seen five cycle lanes with a maximum length of 25 km, covering Olympic venues including the National Stadium, the National Aquatics Center and the National Speed Skating Oval, also known as of ribbon of ice cream.
For the past few weekends, Na and his club members have traveled the rural landscapes of Yanqing, Miyun and Changping neighborhoods in the suburbs of Beijing, accompanied by a supply car to provide bicycle maintenance, catering and medical services.
“About 20 members participated in our commuter bike ride each time, ranging in age from 20 to over 80. We ride all the way through the mountains and along the rivers,” Na said.
Apart from competitive cycling, bike sharing is also playing an active role in public transport, as an increasing number of Chinese people now prefer “green travel”.
According to data released by the Beijing Municipal Transportation Commission, the annual volume of shared bicycles in the capital in 2021 reached 950 million.
“If the walk is a bit slow and the ride is too fast, the bike is fine,” Na said. “People may choose to cycle for exercise or to make friends, but we all share the same passion for the sport.”
“Cycling has become a part of my life, always inspiring me to push forward,” Na noted.