Hong kong is one of the great cities of the world...maybe the greatest. It seems to have everything: Art, culture and commerce, skyline that would make Manhattan jealous, not to mention forest, mountains, world class beaches and Jackie Chan!!
But as I discovered on a recent trip, it has another reason for being great that undoubtedly slips under most people's radar. It has Butcher bikes, which is to say utility bikes.
In truth, Hong Kong is not the ideal bike environment. It's quite hilly and it rains a lot, yet some how the butcher bike has survived here. The bikes fall into two categories.
First there is the 28" Double-bar with a massive utility rack attached to both top tubes. Without exception, these were all Phoenixes, like this one photographed INSIDE A BUTCHER SHOP. The opposite wall was filled with hanging legs of Prosciutto! (or the Chinese equivalent.)
The 2nd type, was this low-center of gravity type bike. These were being used by a gas company near our hotel to very canisters of CNG to restaurants, etc. I had never seen a bike like this in China. Quite honestly using a bicycle in this role seemed a bit of a strange choice. On the mainland, a pedal tricycle would fill this roll and probably perform the task much better. So I was pretty sure this bike was NOT from China.
So who made these? I knew some Indian and Dutch manufacturers produce this kinda bike, but those connections seemed unlikely. The frame was no give away, as the bikes were so old they had lost all badging. One had a chainring that said Phoenix, but other's did not.
So who made these bikes?
Well, just before departing Hong Kong I found one with the head badge intact.
Pashley! The high end British make! It's good to know that somewhere in the world these bikes are still hard at work and not relegate to the role of "rich boy toys". Awesome!