Transport News: “It’s cheaper to run than a car,” says man-pram owner Huang Xu, “and it gives off fewer greenhouse gases – unless I’ve had a big meal.”
Man-prams or ‘belly wagons’ are they latest craze to hit China, and manufacturers say they ‘simply can’t keep up with demand’.
“Our main business used to be lawnmowers and torture equipment,” says Bang Cheung from Neatinfo.
“We made only a few bespoke man-prams every year for some special clients but that was it. Then ‘Gutface’ came along and everything just went wild.”
‘Gutface’, a primetime TV show about a corpulent detective that has the ghosts of dead dogs running around his belly, is credited with the boom in man-prams as he’s pushed around the mean streets of Shanghai by his long-suffering mother, who doesn’t really buy the whole dogs thing.
“Man-prams are a really fun way to get around, and a lot more practical than tying three skateboards together and putting a plastic chair on top,” Bang Cheung continues, “or fixing a saddle onto a child.”
So could man-prams take off over here?
“I think they are absolutely splendid,” said London’s mayor Boris Johnson at the Urban Transport conference in Bahrain last week.
“I was pushed around the car park in one and immediately began to suck my thumb, poo myself and fall asleep. Not unlike sitting in the House of Commons, in other words, only with things moving along a little faster.”
Story: Jasper Gibson