The first time I saw the 12-year-old kid speeding down the ramp, riding the emblematic yellow ofo bike, I was hit with a jolt of excitement.
I stopped the kid and asked him what he thought (he loved it), how it worked (each bike has an ID number and the QR code reveals the lock-code), and if he had any complaints (not really). He went on his way and I continued my Sunday stroll, thinking, “that was a nice little interaction”.
About 15 minutes later, while walking down the Kallang river, two other bike-sharing users zoomed past. It was the first time I noticed the bikes in my day-to-day life. Granted, I was on Singapore’s Park Connector trails (basically the hottest area to spot bike-sharing), but the point remains.
Also Read: Singapore govt scraps national bike-sharing scheme plans, existing operators to run their own systems
So, because 2017, I decided to tweet out every time I saw a bike (if I had known what I was getting myself into, I would probably have not done so).
I was expecting, at most, a dozen bikes during the walk. In the end, I counted 27 bikes and there was a point (near Marina Bay Sands), when I legitimately struggled to keep up with the bikes riding past.
I have no idea if the bike-sharing model will ever become sustainable, but I discovered yesterday that people in Singapore are using the service.
Enjoy the twitter story (and my walk) below.
If I had known from the start what this would become, I would have edited the grammar. What I thought was a stand alone tweet grew into an uncontrollable monster.
The interesting thing about the bike-sharing industry is cities will need to create a “don’t be a jerk” culture of using the bikes. This was just kind of tossed to the ground and I seriously doubt it was going to be used in the near future.
This is the point I decided I would keep track of how many bike-sharing users I saw during the walk.
The storm clouds were gathering and I began to wonder what would happen to these bikes (probably get rained on and rust).
Feral bikes everywhere.
I like this one. A whole group of friends were riding their bikes and one of the girls was on an ofo. I was thinking, “maybe she would not have joined if the bikes weren’t so easy to rent.”
Also, after looking today, ‘second’ should be ‘third’.
What a nice date activity.
At this point, I was struggling to take pictures and tweet fast enough.
I actually did not really move for about 15 minutes because I was so busy snapping pics and tweeting (and in hindsight looking like a typical mobile-zombie).
As is becoming obvious, usually there was a bit of a delay between the biker shooting past and me being quick enough to snap a photo.
Not feral bikes. The couple was out of frame taking a selfie.
This is where I began to hope I would cross the two-dozen mark.
And I did! Sort of.
But as the tweet mentions, while this artificially inflated the counting stats, the vast majority of the bikes on the rack were bike-sharing companies. Totally fascinating.
A lady selling souvenirs pointed to the rack and asked me if I wanted to “enjoy a bike ride”.
So there you have it, a 10km Sunday walk that involved 27 bikes and too many tweets.
Copyright: walkingsky / 123RF Stock Photo