Non-motorized transport expanded rapidly in most Chinese cities following market liberalization in 1978. The bicycle and pedestrian share of intra-city trips continued to grow until the mid-1990s while incomes continued to rise and cities invested in new highways and public transportation. The affection for the bicycle in particular is closely related to extensive urban infrastructure and the predominance of bicycles on many urban thoroughfares. The commercial and service structure of cities has developed around non-motorized modes, further reinforcing these forms of transportation. In spite of central government policies to promote the use of motorized modes and the automobile industry in particular, street culture remains closely allied with non-motorized modes. Personal characteristics, income and household composition have relatively little to do with the persistence of sustainable transport in China. While the future of non-motorized modes is unclear, the use of bicycle, tricycle and pedestrian modes remain a significant advantage for Chinese cities facing substantial challenges to a viable and sustainable transport future.