Renting Bikes In China Is Awesome And Messy
I’ve been told that a couple of years ago something changed in China. Before that time, the sidewalks weren’t lined with different colored bikes waiting to be rented for pennies on the dollar per hour. For me it’s hard to imagine the time when there was no renting bikes in China because now there are more than enough of these bikes to go around.
At times it can get a little messy and the amount of bikes streamed up and down the streets is a lot to handle (especially in bigger cities like Beijing and Shanghai). But, that’s a small price to pay for what I feel is by far one of the most convenient ways to get from place to place.
Renting these bikes is super easy, too. As with most things in China you can use your cell phone to scan a QR code on each bike and within a few seconds you’re on your way. There are no racks you need to put them in when you’re done, just pick it up on your way out and leave it in front of wherever you end up. While in China I saw just as much older people using these bikes as young people, which was also super cool. It’s a piece of cake.
People seem to mostly put up with this method of bike sharing in China, but here in the States just leaving your bike in random places seems to create some issues like at UC San Diego where one of the Chinese bike rental brands was quickly banned due to complaints. Also, from what I’ve seen the sidewalks in the U.S. are also much smaller than in China since Chinese sidewalks are often used to park electric scooters, so there just isn’t as much room here for bikes to be parked.
Who knows if we’ll ever see this level of bike sharing fully make it’s way over here to the States, but it’s definitely unique to China and something I wish I could still use here.