Aerial View Of Rental Bikes In China

A Beautiful Chaos: China's Bike-Infested Landscape

What the new bike glut means to the country's urban landscape.

Forty years ago, China was a country on pedals. Roughly 60 percent of all trips were made on a bike. But as the economy blossomed, the two-wheelers, once considered status symbols, gave way to cars. In the last three years, however, some 60 companies have sprung up to give the tech-savvy, app-happy generation an easy way to get around: shared, dockless bikes. Fueled by venture capital, the companies dumped more than 20 million cheap, brightly colored bicycles onto Chinese streets. Now there's a bike glut and many sit unused in vacant lots. The pictures below offer a top-down on China's bike-sharing bubble.

TAKING OVER THE FOUR-WHEELS VCG/VCG via Getty Images TAKING OVER THE FOUR-WHEELS

Abandoned shared bikes at a parking lot in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China, 2017.

IN THE KINGDOM OF BIKES VCG/VCG via Getty Images IN THE KINGDOM OF BIKES

Aerial view of shared bikes piled up at an open space of Hongshan District in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, on April 2, 2018.

URBAN GRAVEYARD VCG/VCG via Getty Images URBAN GRAVEYARD

A crane unloads shared bikes from trucks at an open area in Xiamen, Fujian Province, in, 2017.

SEA OF BIKES VCG/VCG via Getty Images SEA OF BIKES

Shared bikes impounded at an empty field in Nanning, Guangxi Province, on April 14, 2018.

aerial view of abandoned shared bikes mostly xiaoming bikes piled up picture  8e7b6e89 0011 445e bd5c 7be13a19808a
an aerial view of the rental bikes detained by the local urban of picture  46b7bc0f 88d4 4845 8282 9ff4962f7ae7
VCG via Getty Images; Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media via Getty Images TOO MANY TO FIX Kevin Frayer/Getty Images TOO MANY TO FIX

A worker from the bike share company Ofo puts a damaged bike on a pile at a makeshift repair depot where thousands of derelict bikes are kept after coming off the road in Beijing, 2017.

URBAN JUNGLE VCG/VCG via Getty Images URBAN JUNGLE

Over 30,000 shared bikes are gathered and placed at an area in Jing'an District in Shanghai, in 2017.

DEMOLISHED VCG/VCG via Getty Images DEMOLISHED

Where bikes go to die....in Jing'an District, Shanghai, March 20, 2018.

WILL THE BUBLE BURST? JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images WILL THE BUBLE BURST?

Abandoned bicycles at a lot in Shanghai, May 10, 2018.

NOWHERE TO HIDE VCG/VCG via Getty Images NOWHERE TO HIDE

Workers try to use black cloth to cover bikes littering an open space in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, on Feb. 7, 2018.

NEW LANDSCAPE VCG/VCG via Getty Images NEW LANDSCAPE

Shared bikes impounded at an empty field in Nanning, Guangxi, on April 14, 2018.