About three decades ago, China was known as the “Bicycle Kingdom”. But the two-wheeled mode (方式) of transport’s popularity began to fade, with many bikes soon replaced by their fuel-powered competitors.
But recent months have seen a revival (复兴) of the humble (普通的) bike across China, with an increasing number of people choosing cycling instead of driving to schools, to workplaces or to do
sightseeing. The introduction of bike-sharing schemes, pioneered by start-ups (新兴公司) like Ofo and Mobike, has brought the trend to a new level.
According to data compiled (编制) by iResearch Consulting Group, the first week of this year saw 5.85 million active users of Mobike while Ofo had 1.4 million active users.
People can unlock the shared bikes by simply using their smartphone. The bikes are equipped with GPS and can be left anywhere in public for the next user. They’re popular among many Chinese people as they provide an effective solution to the “last mile” problem, which refers to the final leg of a person’s journey.
“In places where the subway doesn’t extend (延伸到), where it’s difficult to change from one kind of transport to another, it’s so easy to get where you want to go with Mobike,” Hu Hong, 29, told AFP. She pedals (骑自行车) to her Shanghai real-estate (房地产) job.
However, the schemes have also led to problems such as illegal parking, vandalism (故意破坏) and theft.