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Pedaling into spring: Cycling enthusiasm rises in Ningbo

Updated: Apr 26, 2024 Print
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A bicycle on display in a store in Ningbo, Zhejiang province. [Photo/]

As spring brings rising temperatures to Ningbo, Zhejiang province, a fervor for cycling is also heating up, with an increasing number of residents embracing it as a lifestyle.

One such person is a resident surnamed Zhou from Haishu district, who, weather permitting, embarks on a 20-kilometer ride along the Fenghua River every evening after work.

This surge in interest is reflected on the social media platform Xiaohongshu, where searches for "cycling" return over 5 million posts. Notably, there are over 20,000 posts with the topic "Ningbo cycling", with cycling routes and experiences being the primary content shared. Posts related to popular cycling routes, such as the Dongqian Lake loop and the Xiangshan Damu Bay loop, account for over 30 percent of the content.

But it's more than just a hobby, as cycling activities in Ningbo are evolving into larger and more professional events. Chen Yingjun, who has been cycling for 5 years, disclosed that the ECC cycling group he participates in has grown from a few hundred members to over 1,000. "We organize cycling activities every week, including long-distance rides on weekends and short leisure night rides on weekdays," he said.

In response to this burgeoning trend, Yin Qiuping, director of the consumer promotion division of the Ningbo Municipal Bureau of Commerce, pointed out that cycling now serves as a means of staying fit, exploring cities, and socializing, among other benefits, and the trend is giving rise to new forms of consumption.

A report shows that the average single cycling time for residents nationwide in 2023 was 13.6 minutes, a 7 percent increase from 2022. The report estimates that nighttime cycling activities have driven the development of the night economy market in the Yangtze River Delta region, leading to consumption of 30 trillion yuan ($4.14 trillion), about a quarter of the nighttime market in the region.

The sales of cycling equipment have surged due to the sport's mounting popularity. According to the 2024 Spring/Summer Trend White Paper for the Sports and Outdoor Industry released by Tmall, the amount spent on bicycle accessories has increased by over 70 percent year-on-year, while the number of transactions has grown by more than 50 percent. The market share of road bikes priced over 10,000 yuan has more than doubled.

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