From China to Abu Dhabi, from London to Rome, cities around the world are offering bike share schemes. The benefits of bike sharing from a municipal point of view are massive. Share bikes help cities hit aggressive emissions targets, cut pollution, greenhouse gases and traffic, and reduce pressure on often over-burdened public transport systems, not to mention parking.
And that’s sad, as pedal power can make a great way to get around cities, and really needn’t be limited to cycling meccas like Amsterdam.
Donkey Bike is a new service from a Copenhagen tech firm that centres on a smart bike lock. Rather than having to handle cards and, as in China, physical keys that are easily lost, everything works from your smartphone.
You find and book your nearest bike in the app, and then can lock and unlock it unlimited times using your phone. You can extend rentals at will – assuming the bike’s available – but, unlike with many municipal schemes, you do have to drop the bike back at the same location you collected it from.
The scheme recently began to offer bike rental in Barcelona at the rate of just €10 per day. It’s handy for tourists, and, thanks to the city’s expansive free wifi that’s available in metro stations, on buses, and in civic buildings from museums to market places, you don’t need to spend money on roaming data.
And it’s also a great way to get around the city. Barcelona has around 200km of cycle paths, from the intense workout of a climb up Montjuïc to gorgeous routes out to the beaches of Maresme. The city’s regular grid layout makes it hard to get comprehensively lost, while the coast makes a handy and scenic guideline.