Bike sharing is a global player

The popularity of sharing bikes is on an unstoppable rise - for which a number of different aspects are responsible: higher overall car prices, crowded urban areas, and an indubitable movement towards a healthier lifestyle. [1]

But hold on. Those are all reasons to hop on a bike in general but not to share one. Like so many goods at the moment, the bicycle has also become a desirable object to share.

This trend was recognized by a group of bike fanatics from the US who decided to start the first “bike-sharing blog”.[2] Today it is the #1 bike-sharing site in the web.

Find bikes to share in China!

The website’s greatest feature is the stunning “bike sharing world map”. [3] Imagine you are a bike fan and you simply cannot do without. Wouldn’t it be great then, if you could simply continue biking as soon as you arrived in another country, say China? But instead of dragging your bike on board of the gigantic Boeing 747 what other options do you have? Well, obviously, you could buy a bike in China but let’s face it – no one really spends his or her money like that.

Of course! You can share a bike. And this is when you open your Google-featured bike sharing world map. Thanks to the efforts of the bike sharing blog operators, you can quickly check where the next bike sharing point (or store) is located. In a Sisyphean manner, they collected every single piece of bike sharing information heard of and fed it into a single database. Now you can simply open the map, click on any location that is marked with a cycler and retrieve information such as the address, the telephone number, and the website of the bike sharing point. Interestingly, China actually seems to be quite a bike-loving country (as is Japan) based on the amount of sharing offers indicated on the map. However, the most bikes by far are shared in central and west Europe, the US still has some catching up to do.

Bike sharing, smartphone essential?

Bike sharing has – exactly like CarSharing - benefited immensely from mobile Internet. Our smartphone or tablet guides us directly to the closest bike sharing point. This is also what the bike sharing world map reflects: the largest amount occurs in countries where mobile Internet is widely used. Is bike-sharing a salt-and-pepper-product? Meaning that it is only used in company of another product, in this case mobile Internet? It surely seems that way. Anyways, bike sharing has become a global thing. We may be familiar with the famous “Boris Bikes” in London or perhaps the “Call a Bike” scheme in Germany run by the Deutsche Bahn, but bike sharing has placed itself on the global map, literally. The question is what kind of development this movement will take.


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