Bike sharing revolution
Whether it’s YoBike in Bristol or MoBike in Manchester, station-free bikes have become the UK’s cycling story of the summer. But what does the future hold for the dockless bike? And will they survive the British Saturday night? Urban Cyclist finds out… uring the summer of 2013, Bristol was invaded with 80 fibreglass Gromit statues. Two years later, it was the turn of 120 giant Shaun the Sheeps. Fast-forward to 2017 and Bristol’s bi- annual invasion has had a twowheeled flavour, with 500 yellow YoBikes becoming the talk of the city and beyond.
In contrast to London’s successful Santander Cycles/ Boris Bikes initiative, YoBike is part of a wave of ‘dockless’ bike- sharing schemes to arrive from China into the UK this summer. There’s also been MoBike in Manchester, oBike in London and Ofo in Cambridge, with many more grammatically- similar initiatives set to arrive across the nation as venture capital firms continue to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into a quest to become China’s most successful dockless bike company.
HISTORY OF DOCKLESS
Created by the fantastically named anarchist Luud Schimmelpennink in Amsterdam in the 1960s, the station-free bike hire approach means you can leave your bike on its stand at any of the many designated parking points across a given city. Many of the 21st- century initiatives hail themselves as the ‘ Uber of Bikes’, which, given that cabbie- baiting brand’s rep for badly- behaved CEOs and more controversy than a 5am Donald Trump tweet, might not be the best marketing plan… but you can see their thinking. This app- based, two-wheeled approach to public transportation has indeed caused a stir. Take Bristol as an example. There are currently 20,000 active riders averaging more than 1,500 journeys each day and it’s growing all the time. Some 190 people are riding a YoBike at peak times, with 5-7pm on Fridays the most popular
Right David Mckinven is manager of Bristolbased YoBike *unless otherwise stated