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Children & Bicycles in China 10

Bicycling in China

Bicycling in China – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

In a country with 1.4 billion people all coveting for a shiny new automobile, it is refreshing to see children enjoying the simple pleasure of a bicycle.

While living in China, I had the unique opportunity to spend time bicycling with some children who I had met. Few things bring me more joy than seeing the wide smile on a child while enjoying every moment as they explore their neighbourhood by bike.

We can learn a lot from children. Children are hardly excited to ride inside an automobile – my daughter Sofia usually starts crying when we put her in a car (I have trained her well).

But when these children get on a bicycle, their faces light up while the cool ocean breeze brushes their face while they ride a bicycle in the open air.

Unfortunately, as in Canada, children in China are already being primed by society to love cars (as I had been raised in the 1980’s), and before long society will pressure them to display their “success” by driving a car (the more expensive the car, the more “successful” they are).

I bicycled through my neighbourhood with the 7-year-old son of an American ex-pat who lived a couple doors down from me, an 11-year-old daughter of a family friend of my in-laws, my daughter Sofia, and the 5-year-old son of a family friend.

I can only hope that when these children grow up they will remember the fun that they had while pedaling on two wheels.

While reflecting on these rides recently, a few words came to mind:

Fun

Freedom

Scenery

Nature

Speed

Community

Convenience

Liberation

Exhilaration

Joy

Happiness

And here are a few photos:

Bicycling in China

Bicycling in China – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Bicycling in China

Bicycling in China – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Bicycling in China

Bicycling in China – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Bicycling in China

Bicycling in China – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

Bicycling in China

Bicycling in China – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country

James D. Schwartz is a Transportation Pragmatist and the Editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at james.schwartz@theurbancountry.com or follow him on Twitter.

i share the road

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  • John__Henry

    Great photos, James! But, where is her helmet? Don’t you love her? haha just kidding. That’s too rude eh? Some people….

  • John__Henry

    Great photos, James! But, where is her helmet? Don’t you love her? haha just kidding. That’s too rude eh? Some people….

  • Charlie Sobel

    That’s a wonderful place to ride bikes!! Wish I could be there!

  • Charlie Sobel

    That’s a wonderful place to ride bikes!! Wish I could be there!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cullen-Carter/1012508565 Cullen Carter

    The image of a child crying while being put in a car puts a sardonic smile on my face.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cullen-Carter/1012508565 Cullen Carter

    The image of a child crying while being put in a car puts a sardonic smile on my face.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cullen-Carter/1012508565 Cullen Carter

    The idea of a child crying after being put into a car puts a sardonic smile on my face.

    Great article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cullen-Carter/1012508565 Cullen Carter

    The idea of a child crying after being put into a car puts a sardonic smile on my face.

    Great article.

  • KayakingPaddles

    You rode a bike wearing a baby carrier? Wow! I would have been scared for my baby if I had to do that! But really nice read. If a country as big as China would consider biking as one of its mode of transportation, this would really have an effect worldwide.

  • KayakingPaddles

    You rode a bike wearing a baby carrier? Wow! I would have been scared for my baby if I had to do that! But really nice read. If a country as big as China would consider biking as one of its mode of transportation, this would really have an effect worldwide.