Sunday, 23 April 2017

Trying to Emulate China's Bike Culture

Recreational cyclists out pedaling in the New Territories
A non-local entrepreneur has taken the idea of bike sharing from China to Hong Kong, but it's had a rough start.

Gobee.bike feature lime green bikes with a logo of a bee on two wheels. It's the brainchild of Raphael Cohen, who launched the service this past Wednesday.

People basically download the app -- but currently it's only available on Android phones -- and then they can sign up with their credit card. They scan the bike to unlock it, and then ride it for HK$5 per half hour. Other offline bike rental shops will lease bikes for HK$40 a day.

Bike sharing is now available in Hong Kong...
The other hitch is that while the bikes are available in Sha Tin, though you can leave the bikes afterwards in any public place, where else are you going to ride the bike except along the bike paths in the New Territories where it's flat?

One would have to be crazy to ride a bike on the main streets of Hong Kong as there are no bike lanes. Only when you have bike lanes, like they do in China will you have more people feeling safe enough to ride two wheelers.

Now a few days after the service was launched, there are reports that three goobee.bike bicycles were found in the Shing Mun River in Sha Tin, while six others were damaged or had parts like handles, brakes and lights stolen.

...But some bikes have been damaged since its launch
"They are trying to make [the bikes] unsafe to use," Cohen said. "It feels pretty sad. I thought Hong Kong was a very safe city."

A safe city doesn't mean its residents don't steal things.

My cyclist friends tell me they can barely leave their own bikes alone for a minute -- locked -- without some part of the bike or the whole thing being stolen.

Maybe Cohen should have studied Hong Kong a bit more before deciding to launch the service, but it's admirable of him to try to get people out exercising more...


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