China Daily Article about Smart Commuting in Beijing by Bike

The second article in the China Daily newspaper today was about Shannon Bufton, STC and how he and I want to inspire smart people to use the bicycle in Beijing instead of being stuck in traffic jams. The online article can be found on their website. Here a copy of the article for reference:

Bike enthusiasts gear up to convert commuters in city
By Todd Balazovic (China Daily), Updated: 2010-03-17 07:56

Shannon Bufton says cycling is a great way to get around the capital of China

Shannon Bufton says cycling is a great way to get around the capital. Guan Xin / China Daily

With an ever-increasing number of cars on Beijing’s streets, some expatriates are pushing to counteract the clog by forming a group of dedicated cyclists which aims to push awareness of commuting options.

The group, Smarter Than Cars (STC), was formed by former urban designer and bicycling enthusiast Shannon Bufton and Ines Brunn, the German owner of the Natooke bicycle shop in the Wudaoying hutong.

They formed the club in late January and have begun organizing mass bike rides for expatriates and Chinese alike in Beijing.

„We do it during the peak hour of traffic so that people who are sitting in cars hopefully see us and realize that it’s a quicker, more efficient way of travel,“ Bufton, of Australia, said.

A big launch of the STC club will be held at the end of March, when it will announce its website and introduce an iPod application the group has been developing, Bufton said.

The application will help users track their movements cycling through the capital by utilizing the Global Positioning System program installed on the iPhone. After they reach their destination the device will tell the user the journey time and average speed.

„In the end we will be able to calculate the average speed of the whole of Beijing in terms of bicycle use,“ he said.

Users can rate their route according to safety and quickness. The information will then be uploaded to the club’s website.

In addition to providing information, STC is also conducting research. Using about 30 volunteers of varying age, weight, and physical condition, Bufton and company will have the volunteers ride a set distance on different types of bicycles along varying terrain. Participants will monitor their heartbeat and use the data to show how easy it is to ride long distances on modern bicycles.

But his main goal is to simply provide information and support for those looking to get out on a bike.

„I think residents of the city are already starting to look for alternative ways of getting around,“ he said. „Cars are great, but actually the practicality of getting around on the weekend and during peak hours is pretty horrendous.“

The idea for the STC club came to Bufton after he hosted an after-work surprise party for a friend. He scheduled the party at 9 pm on a Friday so that everyone would have to get out of work and eat before coming to the party.

But after putting out a few plates of finger food, it was quickly devoured by party guests Asking around, Bufton discovered that because of Friday night traffic, everyone who had taken taxis didn’t have time to eat. Those who had ridden their bicycles, however, had eaten.

„It made us realize that cycling is not just more environmentally friendly, it’s a smarter and more efficient way of getting around the city,“ Bufton said.

For more information about rides with the cycling group contact

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