Start of the day; now how do I start my journey?
This isn't all the schemes I'm a member of, but 5 of these are in London alone - time for that aggregator app!
So for the first choice, with trusty pre-production Hedkayse ONE - what a great colour match:
The funky mobike. Simple QR code, unlock and away you go. So what's not to like... well they are really small, I felt like an adult riding a BMX a long distance, and worse still they are only single gear! So I was standing up to pedal up Temple Lane - oh and then there's the solid tyres great on those cobbles...Everyone overtaking me on Boris bikes and I was worn out, so:
Ah that's better, OK so they have fixed sites to drop off and pick up, but they have gears, air in the tyres and are very adjustable. It appears I finished outside central London!
The ofo journey was better than mobike, at least it has gears, and now using the green helmet, well it matched the walls (you can carry more than one when it folds!). Noticed that alot of the ofo bikes have a tendency to rub the back wheel and cover the QR code in rubber dust.
So the summary of my journeys and experience yesterday, the non-docking bikes (ofo and mobike) provide that real point to point element, but if you are over 5'7 I would avoid for longer journeys, they are too small to cycle easily and with the single gear mobike it is only useful as a form of torturous exercise. But they are OK for a couple of minutes. The cost structure is the same for both the non-docking bikes, but so far ofo is costing me nothing (as I am parking within the accepted zone, or in designated areas and returning bikes from out of zone which is giving me credits and therefore coupons to use) and the mobike has cost 50p per journey.
So my ideal journey has been find the nearest ofo, assuming boris bikes are too far away, then cycle to the nearest boris bike rack, then take that to the destination and walk from there. Did that a couple of times yesterday from the Mayor's office to the West End and also to the City. Of course the other factor is the designated area for ofo and mobikes does not extend much beyond the City confines to the East and West, so any other destinations require a Boris bike or a negative credit score. Of course you have to check 2-3 apps to find all this! And if this short journey is now costing 50p I'll be walking to the boris bike everytime, so ofo it is for now whilst I don't seem to be paying!
The last mile journey which all the schemes are catering for is hotly contested which is great for the consumer, I feel the Boris bike is still king, more swayed by sizing and coverage (also I'm an annual member which means my costs are relatively low to use on each journey), but the convenience of the non-docking bikes is uncontested. But unlike the Chicago Divvy bikes scheme which is telling me the nearest bike is 6400km NW on Sheridan and Noyes! For these UK schemes you have to move around the map to find a bike and they don't always refresh well (Urbo seems to be the best at that), and often the bikes are not in existence when you get there (I had a 33% fail rate with mobike yesterday - they are not alone in this).
These hire schemes are a great means of transport, and are great fun with more and more people adopting them as a means of getting to work/meetings or sightseeing - sounds like the perfect market for a collapsable robust cycle helmet!
Remember, keep safe - don't be a Hedkayse wear one.
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