Tuesday, December 6, 2016

My encounter with Mobike

I went to Shanghai late Oct for work and it was quite a hectic time for me. Nevertheless the cycling bug in me is still very strong and invariably, I found myself staring at a nice looking bicycle which reminded myself of a cool designer project. That's the Mobike. 
enroute to my workplace
Initially I was impressed by the physical bicycle design but not too impressed by bike share concept. It was well designed. Comes with concealed drive train which means less maintenance. No adjustable seat but from the looks of the users, I think they went for a fixed position to reduce abuse. It will not please the cycling but no-one seem to really mind. I think its a good call. It even comes with nice looking mudguards which most style conscious folks will not put on their personal bikes. Having ridden alot, I can personally vouch for the effectiveness of the mudguards. Its not cool but its damm useful.
In my mind when I first saw it...  I had this thought... "Ptttthhhh.... That's another designer ego trip and how many nights they must have sweated the details.... but really?? Do we need another bicycle?" 
I was in Shanghai for 2 weeks and what I slowly realized is Mobike is not your usual bikeshare.  I saw many locals using and it was EVERYWHERE.  That's when I started talking to my local friends on this... 
The bikes get parked every where

1 RMB for 1/2 hr. Thats like 20cents! 
So the Short of it. It's like Uber on 2 wheels.  The concept is that you register to use mobike bicycles via the smart phone app and then using the app, locate the nearest bicycle that is available.  
The bicycles are GPS enabled and this means you can see the whole fleet online. And more importantly...those that are near you. 

When u see the bike, you take a QR code and send it in(via the app).  After confirming your order, the lock releases and you take it for a ride. 

When you reached your destination. You dismount, find a safe place to park and lock the bike. Locking the bike closes the "order". 
Then you just do your thing and carry on your daily activities.  When you require another bike to go home. You go to Mobike app look for the nearest bicycle available. I was told, u can even book in advance!
This is not your usual bikeshare which requires you to put the bike into specific booths.  You just ride and "chuck" it.  That's the cool bit. 
Fundamentally, it taps on a very important element of humans. Laziness and Convenience. 
Customers just want to reach their destination easily. They are not too concerned on how, what it is but the solution must be easy, quick and cheap.  From the way the Shanghai locals are embracing mobike, I feel it is going to be a game changer. Like what Uber did to Taxis. 
I recently also read in Straitstime Mobike  are now considering Singapore entry. I wish them well and I can't wait to try it here. 
Hope with more bicycles (bikeshare or just regular bikes) on the road, it can make our environment more green, more accessible and safer for cycling. Who knows Singapore can even be the model country for cycling in Asia Pacific? Exciting times ahead! 

* More reading of mobike here
Not so good an experience but if you can thrive in China...  

1 comment:

  1. Heya.. nice blog you have here. This post really interesting. Thanks for the write up :)