Comparing Bikeshare & Bike Rental in USA vs Europe vs China

Comparing Bikeshare & Bike Rental in USA vs Europe vs China

June 3, 2019 0 By Tad Reeves

Whenever it’s been even remotely practical, I’ve tried to use transit & bikes for all of my city transportation, every time I travel. This is a run-down of all of the cities where I’ve rented bikes or used the city’s municipal bike-share system, along with where I’ve gone, and my impressions of biking in the area. Definitely hope to update this with more cities as I get around!

Berlin, Germany

My Ofo Bike & Berlin Haubtbahnhof (Central Train Station)
My rental dockless Ofo bike in front of Berlin Haubtbahnhof (the central train station)

Dockless bike-share bikes were easy to get to in Berlin, and were always somewhat neatly parked near most train stations. I picked mine up after getting off my ICE3 train from Munich, and used it for a few days worth of business trips to & from work.

Munich, Germany

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My hotel-loaned rental bike in front of the Siegestor in Munich.

I absolutely fell in love with Munich during about a week I spent there on business, and a huge reason was the bike culture & infrastructure that makes it so easy to live & work in the city without a car.

The bike-scape in the city centre of Munich. Just SO MANY utility cyclists.

Zurich, Switzerland

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Riding to meet a friend of mine at Google on a slick band-drive rental bike loaned to me by my hotel in Zurich.

Zurich was such an eye-opener for me in terms of bike & transit utility. It’s the same size city as my home in Portland, OR, except nearly 20 times more people bike & take transit. The hotels I stayed in offered bikes for rent, and the train station rented me a mountain bike to crank up the Uetliberg, the tallest mountain in the city, for a fabulous after-work ride.

SBB Rental Bike at the top of Üetliberg
SBB Rental Bike at the top of Üetliberg

Kufstein, Austria

I stayed with a friend for my birthday weekend in Austria, and asked for some sort of rental bike so I could do some mountain biking. The bike they ended up giving me in town was a fabulous carbon XC hardtail which climbed like nobody’s business.

My Rental MTB on the Climb up Pendling
My Rental MTB on the Climb up Pendling

I should say that I’ve never been anywhere that the average level of athleticism was so high. I’ve never felt so out of shape and dumpy in my life. But goodness, GOODNESS the views around there.

London, England

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A Mobike direct-drive dockless bike-share bike along the Thames in London

I got to try two different bike-share systems in London. I used Ofo bikes, which I’ve used elsewhere as well. The benefit, obviously, is that you can leave it wherever you need to rather than having to find a station, and pickup tends to be easier as well. The drawback is that the direct-drive bikes are slow and energy-sapping and really aren’t for taller folks like me.

I also tried the Santander-branded docked bike-share bikes, They were a bit more expensive than the Mobike rentals (not by much), and yes you had to find a dock. But the bikes were vastly faster and more comfortable, and felt like an actually-viable mode of transportation.

Guangzhou, ChinaT

My Mobike Dockless Bike-Share Bike
Dockless bike share bikes are literally EVERYWHERE in Guangzhou.
Regarding the experience of riding bike-share bikes in Guangzhou
Riding a Too small Mobike in Guangzhou
The biggest issue I had with trying to rent bikes in China is that all of them were too small.

Hong Kong

On a Pair of Ofo Bikes in Hong Kong

Yiwu, Zhejiang, China

Riding a Triace Satyr through Yiwu Jiancheng Shouge Wetland Park
Riding a Triace Satyr through Yiwu Jiancheng Shouge Wetland Park

San Antonio, Texas

Bike-Share Bike on the Riverwalk Trail in San Antonio
Bike-Share Bike on the Riverwalk Trail in San Antonio
Biking the Salado Creek Greenway in San Antonio

Austin, Texas

Los Angeles, California

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Exploring Milwaukee by Bublr Bike-Share Bike
Exploring Milwaukee by Bublr Bike-Share Bike

Washington, DC

Las Vegas, Nevada

Riding the Las Vegas Bike Share Bike through the Freemont Street Experience
Riding the Las Vegas Bike Share Bike through the Freemont Street Experience
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A “security style” rental bike that I got in Vegas, and rode out to Red Rock