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August 14, 2010

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Biking around beautiful Chongming

THERE'S no better way to enjoy scenic Chongming County than to cycle around the green eco-island in the summer, and there are few better ways to live healthy and promote a low-carbon life.

Saying good riddance to urban Shanghai, more than 500 people from all walks of life gathered at Mingzhu Lake last Sunday and took to the road for an 8-kilometer tour.

It was part of Chongming's major promotion of bicycling that will include a cycling carnival and forums on biking, health and the environment.

As the host of six international cycling events for women, the island is already gearing up to hold the 2011 Women's Road World Cup next year.

At Sunday's fun rise, office workers, public servants, students, retirees, athletes, businessmen and many others cycled under blue skies in the countryside.

"Chongming is known as a bicycle county. It's the most common way for us to get around, go to work, the farm and to see relatives," said Shi Dingnai, 61, a local farmer.

"Riding a bicycle with so many people at one time is a fresh experience. I'm proud to be part the effort to promote health and protect the environment."

Staff from Shanghai World Expo's Denmark Pavilion were stand outs -- chefs, guides and other employees entered the event. In the Denmark Pavilion, visitors can ride a bicycle around exhibits, but there are no bikes allowed to get around the better city Expo itself.

Anne Schmidt, 27, a guide at the Denmark Pavilion, said the bike day was refreshing.

"It's so green and pure here. Denmark has the same emphasis on cycling as it is healthy and sustainable. It's how we get to school and work," she said.

Denmark is known for its cycling culture. About 36 percent of residents in Copenhagen, the capital, ride bikes every day. It took more than 20 years for the country to establish special bicycle lanes but now it has 300 kilometers used by more than 30,000 people daily.

Wang Jing, the pavilion's deputy director, said Danish kids start riding when they are three or four years old and bikes are considered toys when they are young.

"Chongming feels like a metropolitan forest. We have the same fun," Wang said.


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