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Bike culture, Thailand and China

February 10, 2013

I was in Thailand and China (Guangxi and Shanghai) in January. One nice thing to see is that there is the seeds of a bike culture growing in parts of Asia. I saw a surprising number of hipster fixies on the streets of Bangkok and Hoa Hin, and there are plenty of new shops now in China selling decent quality mountain bikes and road bikes, a complete contrast to a few years ago when the only bikes available seemed to be for kids or the very poor. It was noticeable that a high proportion of people riding nice bikes were westerners, but there were plenty of locals too, in addition to the last remains of the old bike culture, iron flying pigeons and all.  Even the occasional roadie on an incongruously expensive Italian carbon road bike can be seen on a Sunday morning in Bangkok, and I saw one small antique shop selling lovely old English Holdsworth utility bikes, ancient Brooks saddles and all.

The photos below show a neat little sculpture was outside a small hotel in Yangshuo in Guangxi province. The leafy bike below that is an apparently permanent fixture in Lumphini Park, Bangkok, while below that these two upmarket bikes are a strangely elegant intrusion on an otherwise dull street near the notorious Soi Cowboy.






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