So this week #Brève is about a great thing I have come to LOVE in Beijing: #BIKING !!!
In this wild and huge city, you may think that the fastest way to get from your current location to a point B would be the subway. Well, to be fair, Beijing subway is, indeed, amazingly fast and the entire city has been covered by the government. Good job guys!
Still, I found a new way to go where I have to go. It is kinda less crowded and way more fun! The entire city has been, since early spring, invaded by bikers. Well you still have a lot of cars, scooters and motorcycles, but so many Chinese now use their own bike. And the government also thought about them! Big bicycle road have been included on the roads through the city. This is a big plus when you wish to avoid smelly people in the subway or indefinite traffic jams. The only thing: I don’t have a bike…. NOT TO WORRY! You’ll find them EVERYWHERE waiting for you to scan their QR code.
It is really simple actually: so far, I have seen 5 different companies of shared-bikes. I subscribed to 3 of them. You just have to download the app, register as a foreigner with your passport and 2 pictures of you and top-up your wallet. For only a few RMB (yuan or kuai in Chinese 元) you can bike all around the city and enjoy the fresh air (yes, pollution days are over!) and the sun (hot sun) on your skin.
To be completely honest, since this city counts more than 20 million of inhabitants, you may encounter people (not only Chinese) taking their time and chatting while they bike slowly using all the space. Besides that annoying fact, I am now biking every day, mornings and evenings, reaching 20km every day. Good for the stress, for your health and nice to see the city in another way than stuck underground.
If you ask my opinion about the app you should use, I highly recommend to download 3 of them. You may ask why: simply because, even if the amount of available bikes is huge, you have to consider that a lot of people actually think like you!
Also, I recommend 3 because from time to time, you may find a lot of bikes, but not the one owned by the company you are using! Only one app can be used to scan one color. As I said, so far, I have seen 5 different kinds: OFO is the yellow company; BlueGogo, as the name describes, are the blue ones; Mobike are the orange ones; there is 2 others (clear blue and red & white) but I don’t know their name.
You figured it out, I currently use the 3 first.
I started using Mobike, has I got “cleared” on the app pretty fast and they offer brand new bikes. I was happy, I have nothing against the quality of the bikes. The only thing is, compare to every other brand, you cannot fix the seat to your size. When I got access to OFO (yellows) I started using them more because it was free and I could adjust the saddle to my size. The only worries I have about OFO is, sometimes, the quality of their bikes. The brand is everywhere, as is Mobike, but some of theirs are deficient and people don’t report problems. You may (I have once) end up with a bike with broken breaks… Here in Beijing, it is a bit dangerous as you may know that car drivers think they have all the power on the roads. Finally, I fell in love for BlueGogo because A) I love blue and B) basically because they have fewer bikes but much better saddle and design. Still, I ended up using recently more OFO bikes than the other two.
All of that said, I would like to point out that all three offer great services and if a bike is deficient, you can directly report it and it will be taken within the day by people hired to pick up deficient bikes all over the city. While you leave the reported bike, if someone tries to scan its QR code, it won’t be available as the brand blocked it until it is fixed. You won’t have to feel bad about anyone, unless you forget to report it!!!
Also, I stopped using subways, not because of the crowd or the smell, but because it is convenient and so nice to bike from my place to any destination. I use, nowadays, to go every weekend to a park, visited one or unknown, and it is great to put my earphones on and bike while the sun turns my skin browner and the music comes out of my phone driving me like I am traveling far away. A feeling of freedom in this gigantic monster that is Beijing! A feeling of great emancipation from the reality.
Hope you guys can enjoy as well if you ever come or actually live here!
See you soon guys!