Japan Quirky- Bikes

Quirky Stuff From Japan – Part 1 – Bikes

There are a bunch of little things I wanted to comment about from my Japan trip but they didn’t seem to “fit” anywhere amongst my daily reports of major events. I’ll sporadically post these thoughts in my LJ as a record for myself and discussion fodder for all of you.


In a city of over 12 million people, transportation is key. Car traffic is insane, the subways are huge and bikes are everywhere. Almost every sidewalk is extra wide to accomodate parking bikes along their edge – everywhere.

I couldn’t believe the huge lines of bikes running down the street… so many bikes they didn’t actually look real, like it was some sort of modern art piece set up to try to show us the movement of the world’s people. I thought that alone was very cool and then Erik mentioned something that absolutely floored me:

Zub: “Look at all the bikes everywhere. Untangling your bike lock must be a form of torture around here.”

Erik: “I don’t think so. Dude, look. There’s pretty much no locks at all.”

And he was right. Dozens of bikes all lined up with practically no locks keeping them from being stolen at a moment’s notice. On one street of 50+ bikes you’d see 1 or 2 locks maximum. Some people would even leave their mopeds leaning against a bike rail all day with the helmet just hanging off the handlebars.

The bikes, for me, were a perfect representation of Japan’s insanely low crime rate. People don’t steal bikes because of an overwhelming and unerring sense of the Golden Rule: You wouldn’t want someone to steal your stuff, so you don’t take someone else’s.

It’s bizarre how simple and natural that kind of attitude should be, but it isn’t.

Japan kicks ass because of bikes and what they represent.

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