Beijing Today News Article about STC

Today we had a nice article in the Beijing Today newspaper. Here is the link to their online article.

Here is the copy of their article:
Cycling club says bikes solution to pollution, traffic jams
April 7, 2010

Smarter Than Car’s spring ride gathers 40 participants with fixed-gear bikes. Photo by Ines Brunn

Smarter Than Car’s spring ride gathers 40 participants with fixed-gear bikes. Photo by Ines Brunn

By Annie Wei

In a country where every household has at least one bicycle, you would think nobody would bat an eyelash at another cycling club.

But a group-cycling event held last Sunday to welcome the arrival of spring still attracted local media like Beijing TV and the Global Times. The organizer, Smarter Than Cars (STC), is promoting bicycles as an alternative to cars as a chief mode of transportation around the capital. As a bonus, STC members are also taught bike stunts.

The club was founded by Shannon Bufton, an Australian urban designer, and Ines Brunn, a German trick cyclist and owner of Natooke, a bicycle shop. Bufton and Brunn said cycling is the best way to get around the city: it is cheap, will not get you snarled in traffic and is kind to the environment.

According to official data, 4 million cars were registered in Beijing at the end of last year, which meant increased air pollution and traffic jams. Meanwhile, the city’s main roads have bike lanes just waiting to be used.

On Sunday, 40 local and foreign STC members set off from the Drum and Bell Tower at 11 am and headed toward Chaoyang Park for a picnic lunch.

Brunn, a former member of Germany’s national artistic cycling team and who has been performing around the world for close to two decades, said she liked best the route along the Liangma Canal where cyclists can occupy almost the entire road.

The participants all rode fixed-gear bikes – models that are not capable of coasting since they have no freewheel; the sprocket is screwed directly onto the hub. Whenever the rear wheel turns, the pedals also turn in the same direction. A rider can slow or stop the bike by resisting the rotation of the pedals without needing to use the brakes. Pedaling backwards will also move the bike in that direction.

This type of bicycle is uncommon but is available at Natooke, located in Wudaoying Hutong, Dongcheng District.

After the ride, Bufton told reporters that STC is developing an iPod application that can help cyclists keep track of their distance, time and average speed. When ready, the software will be available at STC’s website, she said.

The club lines up one to two rides a month and welcomes new members. For more information about STC, visit

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