Where have the Nine Million Bicycles of Beijing Gone

From my point of view a bicycle is an item that has a great sense of time, this item of our generation holds a lot of memories from our youthful years. However, today the bicycle is often associated with the weather… I can’t seem to remember when the number of cyclists on the streets and roads of Beijing began to get scarce, no one dares to cycle anymore, where have all the cyclists gone? To all the cyclists out there please come back, once you all begin to cycle again the sky will be clear and blue!


Back in 2005 when I first heard the song Nine Million Bicycles in Beijing by Katie Melua with the lyrics “There are nine million bicycles in Beijing, that’s a fact” there have been no statistics that show that there was nine million bicycles in the city at that time but it is certainly worth imagining the scene if the fact was true.


Back in the old days a family that had a bicycle was sign of prosperity in the city. Perhaps most people’s first impression of Beijing is like from the scenes of the film “Beijing Bicycle” and “In the Heat of the Sun” where you can see a sea of cyclists roaming through the streets and hutongs of Beijing accompanied with the constant ringing of bicycle bells. However, over the course of a few short years this scene is now very rare in Beijing.


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