Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Chinese GPS Enabled Bike Share Mobike is the best

Over the past few months, at least ten thousand public bikes have appeared all over Shanghai. The bikes are orange and you can see them all over the sidewalks, including these two bikes here.


Each bike has its own GPS and cellular data connection so when you want a bike you just pick one from the map. The map below is an actual screenshot, it is crazy how many there are. You can reserve the bikes for 15 minutes so nobody else grabs it as you meander over.

When you get to the bike you scan the QR code with the same app and it automatically unlocks... and you are off! Down one of the many dedicated bike lanes or streets with generally slow moving traffic.

When you arrive at your destination, park the bike on the sidewalk in a designated bicycle parking area (just a regular spot designated for any bicycle) and slide the lock closed.



The price is crazy cheap, you pay a reasonable deposit of something like $60 and then every hour is 20 cents! Yes I'm not kidding. Essentially free. If you were crazy and rented it for 24 hours nonstop it would cost you less than 5 dollars.

The design of the bike is all about keeping the production cost and maintenance cost low. The wheels are cast metal in one piece, probably iron. The fenders are small, plastic, and identical for the front and back wheels, except the addition of a reflective sticker on the back fender. The gears and brakes are internal and the wheels appear to be made of solid rubber so they won't ever go flat. The seat height is non-adjustable. That is the absolute worst part and sadly precludes me using these for any long rides - so I'll say that again: the seat in not adjustable and is super-short.


Since these bikes are so new, it is not uncommon to see people checking them out for the first time.

If you have any questions let me know in the comments!

Thursday, August 11, 2016