Opinion / Huang Xiangyang

Mobikes a small price to pay for clean and green travel

By Huang Xiangyang (China Daily) Updated: 2016-10-21 09:22

Mobikes a small price to pay for clean and green travel

A woman rides a Mobike in Shanghai. [Photo/China Daily]

In a metropolis like Beijing, what's the best way you can think of to spend only a single yuan ($0.15)?

That is the amount I usually give to a street beggar, or I can use it to take a bus. I hadn't seen many other choices-until I started using Mobikes.

Seemingly overnight they are sprouting up in Beijing. Though not yet ubiquitous, I see them from time to time, parked randomly on the sides of the street or whizzing past me with a rider peddling on it.

Their bright orange color and stylish design make them stand out from other bicycles.

They don't have a roller chain as most common bicycles do, which makes me wonder how the power is transmitted to the back wheel. The tires are tailor-made so they don't need a pump to inflate.

More distinctively, they are "smart". Fitted with a microchip and GPS (global positioning system), a Mobike can record the route it travels, and enables the users to locate the nearest one using an app on their smartphone.

Of course I did not know that when I first chose to use a Mobike one morning the other day, on my way to hospital to see my father who was ill.

There is no direct bus service to the hospital, and the nearest stop is two kilometers away. Usually I would walk the distance, but that day, when I got off the bus and saw a Mobike parked on the street side, with words "scan to unlock" and "one yuan per use" (I found out later that means a 30-minute ride) on the back of its saddle, I could not resist the temptation and decided to give it a try, purely out of curiosity.

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