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Although invented in Europe, bicycles became so popular in China it became the world’s bike riding capital.

John Kempt Starly developed the first device that looked like the bicycle we use today, called the ‘Safety Bicycle’ in the 1870’s. It featured spoked wheels of nearly equal size, gears, and a chain drive. 

Prior to this, inventors across Europe had developed a range of models that were foot propelled, had different sized wheels. The ‘safety bicycle’ evolved and became so popular the numbers of bikes riding grew from 200,000 in 1889 to 1 million in 1899.

Chinese man riding bike through city

Bikes Exploded in China

Initially people in China preferred rickshaws to bike riding.  However by the 1930’s bicycle use was widely accepted and by the 1940’s China had begun manufacturing bicycles.

Commuting by bicycle was promoted in China, to the point where it became the dominant form of transport, and by 1958 China was producing 1 million bicycles each year. These days China has good Bicycle Mass Transit System and produces 60% of all bicycles sold globally.

As migrants started moving away from China, often their passion for bike riding moved with them. They brought an array of different culture aspects to new neighbours including food, art, language, celebrations and more. 

Impact of the Coronavirus

With the current Coronavirus outbreak, many of these Chinese migrant communities are now suffering.  Australian travel bans have interrupted travel to and from China. Measures put in place by the government to protect the health of Australians have worked. Businesses selling Chinese food or goods, or that are owned by Chinese Australians are suffering as shoppers and diners stay away as a result of Coronavirus fears . 

After the impact of fires and floods, the last thing communities in NSW need is collapsing businesses.

“This weekend why not plan that Valentine's Day meal at your local Chinese restaurant or support local shops and businesses that have been too quiet lately?”, commented Kim Lavender, Bicycle NSW Communications NSW. 

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