Well, here’s my Pigeon.
The Flying Pigeon PA-02. The Least Original Bicycle Ever. Made by the Tianjin Flying Pigeon Cycle Manufacture Co. in Tianjin, China, since 1950, and all the way up until a few years ago! This is the most produced mechanized form of transport ever. Over 500 million were made over the Pigeon’s production run. Interestingly enough, The Honda Super Cub, in 2nd place, passed 100M in 2017. This was, well, how China got around, up through the early 90s, at least. Parts are still commonly available in China, and actually, two other cycle brands, Forever and Phoenix, still make the Chinese Traditional Bicycle, selling them on Taobao for about $100 apiece.
And now, some specs:
- The wheels? a massive 28"
- Only one gear in an enclosed chaincase. Thankfully, it’s not a fixie!
- It’s all steel, and as such, supposedly weighs almost 42lbs!
- Rod brakes. so what that means is, the brakes don’t work, or at least don’t work well.
- a really nifty bell.
Unfortunately, as I found out, Pigeon build quality declined once they were no longer required for transport in China, and production was no longer in-house. (mine is around a 2010 or so) So the paintwork isn’t perfect, the wheels aren’t perfectly round, the rod brakes are pretty garbage, the chaincase is noisy. Honestly, though, when you’re riding it, you don’t notice these things. It’s comfortable, and with the weight, you can get momentum to ride at a nice pace. It’s clearly a roadster, not designed for speed, but leisurely rides. (I’ve got a Trek 1000SL if I need speed and performance in a bicycle.)
For all its shortcomings, I wanted a Flying Pigeon for a while, and luckily, I managed to find one out in Los Angeles that a friend could pick up for me. It was a mess trying to get it home, though. Can you believe Fedex wanted something like $400 to ship it?
In the end, it was cheaper to take a nice trip out to Los Angeles and spend a weekend there, then take it back as a checked bag on a Spirit flight.
Either way, a Pigeon’s worth 1000 words!