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The Bike Sharing Phenomenon in China and the U.S.

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The Bike Sharing Phenomenon in China and the U.S.

Old 05-05-18, 12:06 PM
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Kijekuyo
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The Bike Sharing Phenomenon in China and the U.S.

I've been following the rapid growth of bike sharing. I even introduced it as a topic in my classes. In China, two companies have emerged to dominate the business: Ofo and Mobike. But, check out the photos of the huge piles of excess bicycles in the big cities there. They were overproduced and saturated the market.

Here, in San Diego, we have the same two companies, Ofo and Mobike, plus LimeBike, a California company. I have tried a LimeBike, and it was fun. I like the bike so much, I investigated the possibility of buying one--with no success.

I also saw the YouBike system at work in Taipei while I was there. I would love to be able to do something like this when I commute.

Have you folks tried bike sharing? What are your thoughts?




Shared bike graveyard, China

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Old 05-05-18, 12:11 PM
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No sorry
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Old 05-05-18, 03:28 PM
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You mean bike-sharing like zip-car where you pay a monthly fee plus a mileage fee?

The companies you mention are in the business of bike rental. This typically is a one-time rental with no membership like bike-sharing. Like for tourists coming to a town.

I never rented a bike, but the ones I see seem to be 50-pound pigs that look to be less fun than a Walmart bike. Starting by the saddle being made for "big" behinds and all bikes the same size and set up as comfort bikes (meaning after 3 miles being uncomfortable to any normal rider).
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Old 05-05-18, 05:46 PM
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I've only used it once in Miami and it was terrific. It allowed us to get around to various places in the way we like to travel. While I never rented one in NYC or DC, they are clearly being used by locals as getting a bike during rush hour in certain parts of town is difficult. It feels to me they are a proven tool. And, while I have not researched enough, the bikes that can be parked anywhere seems like it might be an even better solution.

When our city is ready, I plan to pursue this as an option.
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Old 05-07-18, 01:10 AM
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I just went riding around San Diego Bay, and the LimeBikes, ofo bikes, and mobikes were everywhere! I can't yet tell if this is a passing fad, or if it will having staying power.
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Old 05-08-18, 04:39 PM
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Boston has their own called Hubway, there are stations all over the city and plenty of people seem to use them - but they look incredibly dumb. They have a big chunky step-through frame without a top tube and an enclosure for the chain, and some of them have wheel skirts over the top of the rear wheels. Look up a picture, they're pretty hilarious.

I think bike sharing is a great alternative to driving if you need to get somewhere without much of a hurry, or if the subway is crowded and it's a nice day out.
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Old 05-08-18, 07:09 PM
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Heavy turds & i dont feel the good outweighs the bad.
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Old 05-08-18, 07:20 PM
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LimeBike just launched in my town. It has been well recieved, heavily used, and seems to work great.

Yes, the bikes are heavy and clunky, but who cares? They are just to go from one place in town to another.

And most importantly, they are getting people who normally do not ride to do so.

Last edited by Kapusta; 05-08-18 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 05-08-18, 08:09 PM
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Mosg people never get to experience a nice, well-lubed, smooth-riding bike that does not weigh a ton. For that reason they spurn bicycle riding and bike ownership. These bike sharing clunkers help to perpetuate the feeling that bikes are things you ride out of need rather than pleasure. I, for one, have never seen a shared bike i would deing to ride and grace with my behind. Ugh, ugly, creaky boat anchors all of them.
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Old 05-08-18, 08:28 PM
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Limebikes suck. They’re ugly as sin and their dockless system allow bikes to be dumped anywhere, including private property and public sidewalks. Dockless systems should be illegal.

Ford Go bikes are a docked system with sites across town. Because they’re docked, they don’t end up in neighborhood yards and creeks. From a distance, the blue Ford bikes appear to be much nicer quality.

From a purely selfish point of view, I’d like to see bike sharing become popular enough to drive improvements in cycling infrastructure. Urban cycling isn’t a comfy experience, but with enough bike sharing demand we can get the support to make the kinds of improvements we’ve been dreaming of.


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Old 05-08-18, 09:22 PM
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All those bikes in China are scrap metal. China is the biggest importer of scrap metal in the world and those bikes are probably more valuable as scrap then they are as bikes.

Notice that most of the time they are in fenced yards. Its not like they are going to a landfill. They will be recycled soon enough.
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Old 05-08-18, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Kijekuyo View Post
I have tried a LimeBike, and it was fun. I like the bike so much, I investigated the possibility of buying one--with no success.
You just haven't tried hard enough!!!

The Wacky World of Craigslist and eBay Ads

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Old 05-09-18, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
All those bikes in China are scrap metal. China is the biggest importer of scrap metal in the world and those bikes are probably more valuable as scrap then they are as bikes.

Notice that most of the time they are in fenced yards. Its not like they are going to a landfill. They will be recycled soon enough.
Still. it would have been better to not produce a surplus in the first place than to recycle it after the fact.
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Old 05-09-18, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
Still. it would have been better to not produce a surplus in the first place than to recycle it after the fact.
China has been welcomed into the modern world of mass consumption with the added bonus of bribery being the basis for business and government decision making.
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Old 05-09-18, 07:43 AM
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Where I work we were offered a 1 yr subscription of Grid Bikes around $36. That included 1 free hr/day. After that you paid regular hourly rates.

That seemed a good enough deal to try. The first attempt the bike's computer wasn't working. Not knowing that I called, then picked a different bike. When you pick the bike out of the rack check it out first.

The bikes are clunky, click & clack, sometimes sticky stuff is on the seat or handlebars. So look over the bike good before picking it to ride. They are slow. This is fine for a mile or two lunch ride when you don't want to worry about your bike getting stolen. But they are not a replacement for a good bike.
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Old 05-09-18, 08:33 AM
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Regarding docked vs dockless systems: I think it is important to realize that all localities are different, and one size does not fit all.

I can see why dockless could be a disaster in a large city. Bikes would really pile up badly in certain high density areas.

Our city (Ithaca, NY) chose to go with LimeBike specifically BECAUSE it was a dockless system. And in our case it was the right choice. So far, bikes clogging sidewalks and whatever other issues some people fretted about have not been an issue. Also, it allows bikes to end up more where they are needed, and allows total flexability. You don’t need to pre-determine exactly where people will use them, and nobody gets dock-locked (get where you are going, but the docks are full).

I think the examples from China need to be learned from. Yes, unregulated dockless systems in crowded cities will be problematic. But in a smaller city that regulates who can offer them and how many can be deployed, it can work very well.

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Old 05-09-18, 11:58 AM
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We finally got our new local bikeshare system a few weeks ago.

They are branded with the local hospital's name as the primary sponsor, Peace Health. However, the system is being run by Uber/Jump bikes (same as the Nike bikes in Portland also using Uber/Jump).

Interesting bikes. They seem well made, but HEAVY. Oddly, good chain guards, but I didn't see a drop of oil on the chains.

I helped with some of the distribution of bikes out to the stations, but the system really doesn't even apply to me as I live "out of system", with my typical daily ride being a few hours. Using a share bike as an emergency backup would be awkward, and prohibitively expensive.

I've seen a few bike share bikes out on the bike paths, usually headed towards Springfield (out of system), but the docks always seem fairly full. Of course, there is a tipping point, that if the docks are empty, the bikes aren't practical to be used.

I have to think that there are different people. For those hardcore bike users, they're much better off owing their own bike.

These bike shares really market to the users who want everything to be done for them. I.E. who want the bike to be ready to ride without ever having to worry about a flat tire or oiling the chain.

And, of course, to those who think a ride should be < 5 miles and < 1 hour.

I have no doubt that one gets plenty of exercise pedaling the things, but an hour???? And, for most people, probably not daily.
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Old 05-09-18, 06:13 PM
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The citizenry complained about docking bikeshare in Portland. They REALLY complain about dockless bikeshare her in PHX!
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Old 05-09-18, 08:41 PM
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Plenty of dockless share bikes here in Singapore. There are least six companies (ranging from lime-green to bright yellow in colour) are operating in this little island city. One of these companies (sharebike.sg) even offer hardtails in an attempt to differentiate from the other companies, especially the government-linked companies backed oBike, and the two surging Chinese startups Mobike and Ofo.

Admittedly, I'd never use any of the shared bikes here. They look clunky and gawdy, and the idea of putting my life on unknown (likely) poorly maintained bikes just turn me off. However, I do appreciate how the bike sharing brought cycling into the consciousness of town planning here.
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Old 05-09-18, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by minerva79 View Post
Plenty of dockless share bikes here in Singapore. There are least six companies (ranging from lime-green to bright yellow in colour) are operating in this little island city. One of these companies (sharebike.sg) even offer hardtails in an attempt to differentiate from the other companies, especially the government-linked companies backed oBike, and the two surging Chinese startups Mobike and Ofo.

Admittedly, I'd never use any of the shared bikes here. They look clunky and gawdy, and the idea of putting my life on unknown (likely) poorly maintained bikes just turn me off. However, I do appreciate how the bike sharing brought cycling into the consciousness of town planning here.
Hardtails? Does anyone need a front suspension, indeed even a 26er, in Singapore? No. The big wheel bias at play again.
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Old 05-09-18, 10:52 PM
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I think this is a good idea to encourage the people for a better and a safe driving because it's light compared to other transportation devices. Also, it does reduce air pollution and it could also be a recreation and an exercise activity for the people
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Old 05-10-18, 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
Hardtails? Does anyone need a front suspension, indeed even a 26er, in Singapore? No. The big wheel bias at play again.
Is there a need to have a car that travel 200kmph when no one will ever travel that fast on the road?
Is there a need to have an expensive iPhone when most people don't even use 20% of it's functionality?

If we are all driven by needs and not wants, we would have easily been contented with a basic wagecuck and a relatively simple life. Unfortunately, consumers are driven by their insatiable appetite for goods and services, and companies will leap seize on the opportunities to make new variation in the businesses. If you think hardtail is such a big deal, think again. There are a few dockless mobility vehicles (read; electric scooters) companies already starting their business here. We also have those ridiculous looking shared ktv box, that you can pay by per song or by time. These are barely some new exploits on the current buzzword: share economy.
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Old 05-10-18, 02:24 AM
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Originally Posted by minerva79 View Post
Is there a need to have a car that travel 200kmph when no one will ever travel that fast on the road?
Is there a need to have an expensive iPhone when most people don't even use 20% of it's functionality?

If we are all driven by needs and not wants, we would have easily been contented with a basic wagecuck and a relatively simple life. Unfortunately, consumers are driven by their insatiable appetite for goods and services, and companies will leap seize on the opportunities to make new variation in the businesses. If you think hardtail is such a big deal, think again. There are a few dockless mobility vehicles (read; electric scooters) companies already starting their business here. We also have those ridiculous looking shared ktv box, that you can pay by per song or by time. These are barely some new exploits on the current buzzword: share economy.
ok, so you agree it's not needed. it is as incongruous as the Maseratis seen there that at top speed run out of the city-states territory in 20 minutes.
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Old 05-10-18, 02:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
ok, so you agree it's not needed. it is as incongruous as the Maseratis seen there that at top speed run out of the city-states territory in 20 minutes.
Diversity is not a bad thing. The last thing we need is yet another similar looking japanese branded sedan, or another dutch commuter bicycle from bike-sharing company. I will gladly try the service if a new company starts a unicycle or penny-farthing sharing.
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Old 05-10-18, 09:36 AM
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I use Divvy in Chicago as the "last mile/first mile" of my commute, mostly because Metra doesn't allow bikes on rush hour trains. I have a subscription which comes with a key fob to check a bike out.

The upsides are that docks are pretty conveniently located in The Loop. Checking a bike in/out is faster than locking up a personal bike (and you don't worry about them when parked). And there are days where the weather is less than ideal for one end of my commute, but fine for the other so I was able to do a one-way commute that wouldn't have been the case with a personal bike.

Downsides are that there have been a few times where I had to go to a different rack because the first one didn't have bikes or open slots to return a bike. The bikes are heavy (which is understandable) and geared lower than I'd like (3-speed IGH), but they're fine for riding a mile or two in the city. And occasionally you'll get a bike with mechanical issues because not all users are diligent about pressing the red button when returning a bike with problems.
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