RIDING AROUND THE STREETS of Beijing on a rented bicycle is one of my happiest memories. Beyond the charm of the hutong alleyways and the stunning array of sights, I loved the simple ease of coming and going: no helmets, no special gear and no heavy lock to carry around – just a mechanism to keep the back wheel from turning so my ride would still be there when I came out from the teashop.
According to the Guardian, China has made cycling an even more carefree experience by halving nationwide incidents of bike theft:
The country, home to a world record 460 million bicycles, has also cracked thousands of bike theft gangs, police officials told a news conference Web cast at china.com.cn.
“We strongly smashed illegal bicycle theft activities and constrained the growth of new cases,” said Ma Weiya, vice-director of the police social security management department. (…)
The government has introduced a system of identification numbers and buyers must register their bikes using their real names as part of efforts to curb widespread theft.