Hailed as a bicycle renaissance in the lead-up to the 2010 Shanghai Expo, the program has unfortunately fallen by the wayside due to lack of government and public interest. While racks do exist in several districts throughout the city, the only kiosks to rent them are found in Minhang and Xuhui. It truly is an example of the best intentions being underutilized and poorly managed. That does not mean, however, that they are impossible to use.
Step 1 – Figure out where you want to go.
- If you live in Minhang, bicycle rental is free and sponsored by the district government. Rental kiosks are located conveniently near the bicycles themselves.
- For those in Xuhui, like myself, you’ll have to pick up a bicycle rental card at one of two locations. The first is at the Xujiahui Tourist Information Center on Zhaojiabang Lu by Xujjiahui metro exit number 14. The other is on Wukang Lu near Hunan Lu. Bring your passport, and RMB300 for a deposit.
Step 2 – Charge your rental card
- You’ll need to charge up your rental card with at least RMB100 of credit. This is done when you first register.
Step 3 – Find a rental station.
- Rental stations are everywhere in the city; you just need to keep an eye out for them. Although in Chinese, there is a pretty user-friendly map on the Forever Bicycle website showing where stations are.
Step 4 – Pick a bike, swipe and ride.
For families living in Shanghai, biking is a great way to see the city and spend some healthy quality time together. Those on short-term assignments to Shanghai might not want to invest in a new bicycle, which makes the bike-sharing program ideal.
For those of us who are here more permanently, going to any one of the myriad bike stores in the city will no doubt yield great results. Giant and Forever are the two major shops you’ll find, with many bikes costing less than RMB600. For fixed-gear lovers, Factory Five and AirWalk make customized bicycles to meet any preference and budget. For those that want something on the cheaper side, but still in great working condition, there is always the Phoenix Graveyard on Chifeng Lu, housing hundreds of used and antique bikes.
The point is to get out there and use the bicycle. Not only is it a great form of exercise, but it takes a car off the road and gets you to most places much faster.
Do you ride your bike around Shanghai? Tell me about it! I’m really interested to see if people have used the bike-sharing program as well.