Quiet transport

It’s 8.15am.

I’m counting pedal-powered, gasoline-free vehicles, standing on the corner of Shilong Road and Longwu Road. This may be the morning rush-hour, or I could already have missed it. I count over a thousand in 30 minutes. That’s two thousand an hour. At one intersection.

The relationship to pedal power here couldn’t be more different from bike culture in London. Here it doesn’t matter how it looks, so long as it moves. Shanghai may be almost uniformly flat, but this is more about a completely practical approach to getting around on whatever you can find.

Cars may be a different and more aspirational story. Every morning the two spotless black sedans parked in front of my window are carefully cleaned by a distinguished looking man in a dark suit. On closer inspection his jacket pocket bears the Shanghai E Arts logo. This is part of his job.

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