A ROLLERCOASTER RIDE IN ASIA高低起伏的亞洲單車路
IT’S THE FIRST thing veteran travellers say in Beijing or Bangkok, Hanoi or Mumbai: where have all the bikes gone?
As wealth and opportunity in Asia have grown, so has the use of first motorcycles and then cars.
The temperate cities of the Americas and Europe increasingly design their cities around the needs of two-wheeled, unmotorised commuters. In earlyadopter Copenhagen, 36 per cent of commutes are by bicycle. But in evermodernising Asia, where car ownership continues to rise, it might seem that the bicycle belongs to the era of black and white photos and big straw hats.
In fact, the picture is more complicated – and changing.
A 2015 Pew Research Center survey showed that bikes are still more common than cars globally. And two of the countries with the highest percentage of bike owners are Asian: Japan (78 per cent) and Thailand (74 per cent), behind only Germany.
World bicycle production fell drastically in the 1970s as car prices fell and incomes rose. According to the Earth Policy Institute the trend reversed in the early 1980s: global bike production climbed to 108 million by 1988. Between 1989 to 2001, production slowed down again.
Now the figures are again rising fast. Despite growing car ownership in China, 65 per cent of households have a bicycle. And now, you don’t even need to own one: the increasingly pollutionphobic country has the world’s greatest number of bike sharing schemes.
Taiwan – a global leader in bike manufacturing – has over 4,000 kilometres of bike lanes. Singapore has launched a National Cycling Plan. Only about one per cent of journeys are made by bike in the Lion City now – but with a 700-kilometre-long bike lane network planned, that will change. All they need are a few Danish-style cool breezes.
By John Burbage 任何經常到訪北京、曼谷、河內或孟買的旅客都會納罕：從前滿目皆是的單車到哪裡去了？
皮龍研究中心於2015年進行的調查顯示，以全球而言，單車仍較汽車普及。擁有單車比率最高的兩個國家均在亞洲，分別是日本（ 78%）及泰國（ 74%），僅次於德國。
700公里的單車徑網絡，啟用後將改變當地的交通結構，在萬事俱備的情況下，新加坡只欠丹麥式的送爽涼風。撰文： JohnBurbage riders thrashing it out for all they were worth behind us.
Without gears the cyclists can only ride on the flat, so they stick to roads along the coastal strip – a mix of urban roads with commuter traffic, peppered with semi-rural snapshots and narrow, twisty backroads lined with houses and trees.
Turning off the main road, they dismounted and entered a small garden. An old, bearded man with wild hair, wearing nothing but a grubby sarong, greeted us with a huge smile.
This place is the daily breakfast stop for many of the local riders: a true Sri Lankan cyclist café, with none of the frills – not even a name. A stack of standard bikes was perched against the wall where aged images of Jesus and 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich covered the cracks. Roti and curry were served up along with a cup of sweet Ceylon tea. The owner emerged with a thumbnail-sized, hand carved bicycle, made from a coconut from his garden. It was my welcome present.
Beneath that jaded poster of Ullrich the café owner’s wife looked on. They had no real idea of who I was or why I was there, but they were so happy to see a foreigner as nuts about cycling as they were.