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|作者：中国日报… 文章来源：中国日报-英语点津 点击数：129 更新时间：2017/4/12|
Everywhere you look in Beijing these days, bicycles stand propped against walls and lined in rows stretched across sidewalks. Pedestrians have taken the development in their stride, dodging only a bit more often or widely to the right or left to skirt the obstructions.
Lines of blue, of yellow, of silver and orange bikes cut off their access from the no man's land of the car-filled streets to the relative safety of the curb. Piles of bikes amass in seemingly random patterns across the city.
Isn't it wonderful!
I've loved bicycles ever since I was 6 years old. My big sister let me try hers. We lived on a short dead-end street that sloped gently downhill toward a chain-link fence. I climbed on the peddles－the seat was too high－and stood stiffly while momentum carried me toward the fence.
Realizing just before I would hit it that I didn't know how to brake, I turned sharply and traced a tight circle until the bike finally slowed and fell over.
I was hooked.
Bikes have always been part of my life, until now, when I find myself without a bike of my own.
Welcome the age of bike-sharing.
The idea is not new. It has existed in some form or another in Europe for years.
I recall a common joke in Amsterdam in the early 1980s was that if you needed a bike you could always take one from the hundreds left abandoned at the Dutch Railways' Central Station. But this was something different.
In the 1960s, a Dutch counterculture movement called the Provo launched its White Bike Plan. The "asphalt terrorism" of motorists had lasted long enough, they proclaimed.
Activists painted 50 bicycles white and left them unlocked on the street, after an opening ceremony alongside a well-known statue in a square near the Royal Palace of Amsterdam.
The group offered "emancipation" through "the first free, collective means of transportation", but their plan failed. Who would have guessed it was illegal to leave a bicycle unlocked in a public place? No sooner had the ceremony finished than the police impounded the white bikes.
In 1974, a successful bike-sharing program began in La Rochelle, France, and it continues to this day.
Similar programs have since proliferated throughout Europe－perhaps President Xi Jinping witnessed during his recent state visit to Finland the workings of Helsinki's city bike system, which reserves a role for the bicycle in the capital's public transportation system.
China has more than kept apace of the global trend of bike-sharing. I started noticing bikes for rent in Beijing maybe a year or two ago. First, they were grouped in racks, but later companies emerged whose bikes could be found wherever the last users left them.
The first bikes looked flimsier, too, but most now they look indestructible.
It all happened so fast, what will next year bring?
You have to wonder if car owners in Beijing won't tire of sitting in traffic jams and join the trend.
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