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The Flying Pigeon is the bike that has pushed forward not only billions of people, but also history itself. It is at the forefront of the whole bicycle phenomenon in the People's Republic of China. In 1950 revolutionary China was a tightly controlled and regimented society. Political beliefs, education, where people lived, what jobs they held and the amounts of goods produced by factories and farms were all centrally planned.

The two-wheeled vehicle was the approved form of transport, and the nation became zixingche da guo, the Kingdom of Bicycles. A bicycle was one of the three "must-haves“ of every citizen, alongside a sewing machine and watch - essential items in life that also offered a hint of wealth in those dour times.

In Maoist China, the famed Flying Pigeon bicycle was a symbol of an egalitarian social system that promised little comfort but a reliable ride through life. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s the logo became synonymous with almost all bicycles in the country.

The Flying Pigeon was the single most popular mechanized vehicle on the planet, becoming so ubiquitous that Deng Xiaoping - the post-Mao leader who launched China's economic reforms in the 1970s - defined prosperity as "a Flying Pigeon in every household". In the early 1980s, Flying Pigeon was the country's biggest bike builder, and its 20-kilo black one-speed models were the pride of hero workers nationwide.

There was a multiyear waiting list to get one, and even then you needed good guanxi, or connections - not to mention about four months' wages for most workers. Nowadays, of all the bicycle logos in China today, the silhouette of a pigeon resting on the two letters FP is probably the best-known. Despite declining domestic sales, the Flying Pigeon remains China's bike, if only because much of the brand's existing rolling stock is still in service, many handed down through generations.

Flying Pigeon has become one of China's most storied brands and the most popular and influential bicycle in the world.

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