Cycle city: Shanghai ramps up its bike-share schemes

Cycle city: Shanghai ramps up its bike-share schemes

Spring in Shanghai is a wonderful time of year to be outside, so why not do some good to the environment and your health by using the city's new bicycle share program?
Shanghai biking
Shanghai goes bike-friendly this spring offering two-wheeled road warriors for your renting pleasure.

Step away from the car! The auto industry is booming here but bikes are once again gaining prestige in Shanghai. The latest sign? A brand new bike share project initiated by Xuhui District’s Tourism Bureau, kicking off at the end of the month, just in time for spring (and the Expo).

And who better to run the program than Forever, Shanghai’s homegrown purveyor of old school bikes that are known to last … well, a long time at least.

Getting on board

We hope that people will come and bike around the area to understand it more. We want to provide a new mode of travel. — Xu Ling Zhi, Xuhui District Tourism Bureau

Forever started researching a citywide bike share project back in 2006, but they quickly realized that without government involvement the idea would go nowhere fast. So they began approaching local districts about cooperating on bike rental programs. Their suggestion was received with much interest, especially after last year’s Copenhagen Summit has people talking about the trusty two wheelers as a low carbon solution for the many residents left stranded in the last three kilometers of their daily commute. 

While you wouldn’t know if you live and work in downtown Puxi, bike shares are actually old news in Shanghai. Last year, Minhang District was the first to adopt Forever’s bike share program (at zero cost to residents) and Baoshan and Pudong have similar programs.

“This is becoming popular all over China,” says Forever’s managing director Chen Shan. “But whoever is thinking about putting this kind of program in place comes to Minhang District first to take a look.”

Getting its wheels

Xuhui District is the latest district in Shanghai to jump on the bike share bandwagon. But while in Minhang District bikes are being promoted as a sustainable transport tool, Xuhui’s bike rental is aimed at tourists.

Shanghai bikingXu Ling Zhi, of the Xuhui District Tourism Bureau, gets ready to explore the city on two wheels. Hopefully she'll unlock the bike before she pushes off. Inspired by Hangzhou’s bike rental program, the Xuhui Tourism Bureau decided to offer a similar service for visitors exploring the Hengshan and Fuxing Lu area. It’s smaller than Shanghai’s other bike rental programs, with less than 200 bikes and just seven bike rental points. The local government cooperated with Forever to put the project on its wheels, with Forever providing bikes and the computer system, and the local government handling promotion and use of space for bike rental stands.

“This area isn’t big, but it’s not so transport-friendly,” says Xu Ling Zhi, of the Xuhui District Tourism Bureau. “Walking around here can be tiring, so we decided to start the bike project to make it more convenient.”

Bikes are available 24 hours a day to rent and are two yuan the first hour and four yuan for every hour after that. Bike cards can be bought at two locations during business hours. The tourism bureau has even put together a little fold-up bike map of Xuhui District, with bike rental points, places of interest, and non-bike friendly roads clearly marked.

“We hope that people will come and bike around the area to understand it more,” says Xu. “We want to provide a new mode of travel. Walk some, then ride some.” 

getting there

Bike Card Registration: Xujiahui Tourist Information Center
1068 ZhaoJiaBang Lu
徐家辉旅游咨询中心, 肇嘉浜路1068号
Hours: 9.30am -4.30 pm
+86 400 820 1898

Bike Card Registration: Wukang Lu Tourist Information Center
393 A Wukang Lu
武康路旅游咨询中心, 武康路393甲
Hours: 9am -5pm
+86 400 820 1898

Prepare to pay RMB 300 deposit plus RMB 100 credit and bring your passport or ID card.
Rebecca Kanthor is an American freelance writer and producer based in Shanghai.
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