Beijing is a smog-infested hellhole, everybody knows that. Pollution level are off the charts, but a man's gotta eat, so millions of people are out and about moving through the muck every day, lining their blackening lungs with toxic air. And millions of them are riding bikes. If only, then, those bikes came equipped with a clean supply of oxygen, so the good people of China might shield their lungs from airborne decay.
So here's Beijing resident Matt Hope with their ticket: a bike that actually purifies that black air for them, through a filtration system on the back and feeds it through a gas mask nozzle up front. It's called the Breathing Bike.
The thing's not so much steampunk as it is cyberpunk; cleverer and cheaper than a car, it's the hacked-together vehicle of choice for the savvy young subversive looking to speed through Beijing's grey, hitech/lowtech streets. Corporations and authoritarian governments have despoiled the world, but the resourceful hacker can keep himself alive. Regardless, it ultimately works as a fine little dagger of a social critique--a two-wheeled middle finger to China's economic growth-obsessed politburo.