Bike shar­ing revo­lu­tion

Urban Cyclist - - On Test - Im­ages ASDe­*

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.


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

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