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|TAIYUAN Rashaan Evans Jersey , Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- While some Chinese metropolises have proclaimed "enough is enough" to shared bikes, fleets of two-wheelers have started rolling into the vast countryside.
In late October, leading bike-sharing operator Mobike put 20 bikes in Qiqili, a poor mountain village in north China's Shanxi Province, its first launch in a rural area.
"I know what they are! You can use one simply with your mobile phone," Liu Wensheng, 57 Quenton Nelson Jersey , told his fellow villagers at the small square where the bikes were parked. "I saw them before, in the city where I worked."
Trapped deep in the mountains, Qiqili has only a few dozen families scattered on rolling hills. Last year, it found a path out of poverty -- tourism -- by capitalizing on its proximity to the winding Yellow River and its rustic lifestyle, including house caves called "yaodong."
"The bikes are like a 'window' connecting villagers with the world. As tourism has boomed in Qiqili, they can better serve tourists," said Guo Ruoqiao P.J. Hall Jersey , an official working at the village, who spent half a year persuading Mobike to offer the service at Qiqili.
Riding a bike, villager Liu Ningfu can get home earlier after farm work. "With the bikes, we drop by more than before, and simply go for a ride for fun," Liu said.
Tourist Zhang Shengnan from northeast China's Liaoning Province was astonished to see a shared bike in Qiqili.
"It brings me a familiar feeling," said Zhang Nick Chubb Jersey , adding that bike rides make the trip to the Yellow River more fun.
Mobike CEO Wang Xiaofeng said the countryside shouldn't be forgotten when it comes to shared bikes, which have been nicknamed one of the "new four great inventions" in China, along with high-speed railways, electronic payment and online shopping.
Bike-sharing is not just a privilege for urbanites, Wang said.
"The whole society can benefit from technological progress and access to equal services," said Wang. "That is what 'sharing' really means."
China's bike-sharing industry rose from nowhere, reaching a frenzy in less than three years. Two market leaders -- ofo and Mobike -- are both worth more than 10 billion yuan (1.5 billion U.S. dollars).
The industry is expected to earn 10.3 billion yuan in revenue this year Nathan Shepherd Jersey , a 736-percent increase from 1.2 billion yuan in 2016, according to a report from iMedia Research. It estimated the number of shared-bike users in China will hit 209 million this year, compared with 28 million last year.
Before Mobike's move, ofo had tested the waters in rural areas. The company put 200 bikes in Sanhui Village in southwest China's Sichuan Province in mid-May.
Bike maintenance is harder in the countryside. According to the agreement between the Qiqili village committee and Mobike, the committee is responsible for management of the bikes and the operator will regularly send maintenance workers to the village.
The bikes, which are vulnerable to vandalism in cities, are treated better by users in Qiqili. Villagers eligible to use the bikes for free regularly clean the bikes and make saddle covers.
A marketing executive with Mobike told Xinhua that the company has no plan for large-scale business in the countryside at the present Minkah Fitzpatrick Jersey , as many villages lack roads suitable for biking.
"In addition, we need to think about whether a village really needs bikes in its development," said the executive.
ATHENS, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of runners and spectators flooded the centre of the Greek capital on Sunday for the 31st Race of Athens, an annual event organized by the municipality of Athens to promote exercise and a healthier life style.
On a warm and sunny day, some 10,000 people of all ages took part in this year's edition Mike McGlinchey Jersey , according to the organizer of the Athens Culture, Sport & Youth Organization (OPANDA).
In front of Panathenaic stadium, the marble venue of the 1896 first modern Olympics, Athens Mayor Yiorgos Kaminis fired the starting shot for the 5 kilometers and 10 kilometers runs circling the city centre.
Another 2 kilometers course was also organized for children and the persons with disabilities.
""Today we are doing a warm up, a warm up for the Authentic Athens Marathon which will take place on November 12... We all celebrate together here in sunny Athens,"" Kaminis said.
""It was a great opportunity for participants to get to know Athens from a different perspective, to walk or run the courses without using cars Mike Hughes Jersey ,"" OPANDA Director Michalis Mantzoris told Xinhua.
A young Greek runner named Anthi told Xinhua after completing the 10 kilometer course: ""It was a very nice experience. We had to run uphill, we passed in front of many landmarks; it was very nice, so beautiful.""
While Anthi participated for a second year in the Race of Athens, Sotiris Manikas has lost count. He tries not to miss any opportunity to run in the Athens center in similar fun races.
""It is a lovely route. It is always different when you are running in Athens. Here, in this country, the Olympic Games were born,"" he told Xinhua.
" Statistics say that the chances of having a close encounter with an elephant are higher in Sri Lanka than anywhere else in the world. So if you?ve always dreamed of getting up close and personal with Dumbo?s distant cousins Mike Gesicki Jersey , a Sri Lanka holiday is your opportunity to make those wishes come true.
There are around about 2,500 to 3,000 Sri Lankan elephants living on the island and with a land mass of just over 25,000 square miles, it doesn?t take a mathematician to figure out that your odds of seeing an elephant are pretty good. Of course it doesn?t mean you?ll walk out of your hotel and find one waiting at the bus stop, but with a little planning you can turn your Sri Lanka holiday into a totally ?elephanticious? experience.