mrjemm wrote:My suspicion is that in the dark days of murderous Maoism, a bicycle would've been viewed as a sign of elitism and the rider taken off and disembowelled.
I first went there at the end of the Mao era and everybody either rode bicycles or (more rarely) the bus all in their Mao suits. Cars were reserved for the political elite. As a foreign guest of the Government, I had a car and driver, a minder who had to go everywhere with me and in the hotel there was a lady at the elevator on each floor that noted your arrivals and departures. Today there are still quite a few bikes but also a lot of motor vehicles with the two interacting in a wonderfully free form way similar to what happens in naked-streets areas here.
I should look out my slides from back then and the pictures of bicycle rush hour in Beijing.