The HDB apartment which my family is staying at is just next to the MRT station. In recent months, it is not uncommon so see a number of bikes from bike sharing companies (eg. ofo, oBike and Mobike) parked nearby.
Yesterday (Saturday), while running the normal errands, I thought I might as well try out one of these bikes.
Bike-sharing in Singapore: Mobike, oBike and ofo put to the test (read here)
- 1st errand: To buy lunch and spend time cycling with my son.
Saturday (late morning): My wife was busy taking care of our daughter, and my son was bored at home. So basically to ‘kill 2 birds with one stone’, I thought that it would be a good idea to spend time with my son cycling around while buying back lunch for the family. My son has his own bicycle.
As this is the first time I tried these bikes, I am not really familiar with their apps. I downloaded all 3 apps (from ofo, oBike, and Mobike).
Basically oBike and Mobike asked for a SGD 49 deposit to use the bicycles. The deposit, by the way, is refundable.
I find oBike and Mobike’s app platform systems more user-friendly as I can easily locate their bicycles using their app platforms. I can’t do so with ofo.
Nevertheless, I reckon price-wise, ofo is the best (since it is free for now). I reckon this (being free) is also the reason why it is harder to find ofo bicycles.
So selfish! More people misusing ofo bicycles at Yishun and Punggol blocks (read here)
- ofo: The pricing for ofo will be $0.50 per trip, but the rides are free for now.
- oBike: At $0.50 per 15 minutes, oBike’s pricing is fairly competitive. Promotions are available – referring a friend gives both of you a $3 ride coupon.
- Mobike charges $1 for every 30 minutes of use. Each time you top up, you get a number of free rides (as long as the ride is under 30 minutes), encouraging you to continue biking.
I did not manage to locate any ofo bicycles near the MRT station and hence was basically left to choose a bicycle from oBike or Mobike. I ended up choosing a bicycle from oBike.
How to use oBike? Check out this link.
Logging into the app was fairly easy, and I was able to quickly locate a bicycle to use.
The bicycle (from oBike) I used has a number of flaws:
- The height of the seat cannot be adjusted- the connection was jammed. It is supposed to be adjustable. With the seat at the lowered level, it was harder for me to peddle (esp. up a slope).
- The locking mechanism is faulty: I had to scan the QR code (or key in the bicycle number) and manually try to unlock the lock (located at the top of the rear wheel) several times before successfully unlocking it.
- Not all oBike comes with a basket in front (and lighting). I prefer those with baskets as I can easily put my bags or food packages in front.
Well, I reckon this bicycle was faulty due to misuse, as the next oBike I used did not have these problems. Nevertheless, for this second bicycle I used, the front handles are not really aligned with the front wheel. I had to hold down the front wheel between a railing and twist the handles into place.
So back to errand: I did cycle with my son to a nearby hawker center and bought lunch for the family. I had to slow down several times and wait for him and made sure that he crossed the roads safely.
The bicycle was quite heavy and as there is only a single gear, it was not easy going up a slope. Nevertheless, it was fun cycling with him. We both get to do some ‘work-out’ too (instead of just staying at home watching TV).
The good thing about the app is that after each trip (from the time you unlock the bike to locking up the bike), it would tell you the duration of each trip, the riding distance, the cost and the calories you burned.
For the half an hour trip (to and fro) with my son, I cycled 4 km ad burned 216 kCal. The trip cost me nothing, as there is a ‘free weekend’ promotion by oBike (no need to key in promo code as well).
- 2nd errand: Riding to the swimming pool
I typically go for a swim during the weekends. My wife would sometimes complain that I spend far too much time for my swim (leaving her with the kids).
The public pool is quite a distance away and there is no direct bus from my place to the pool. I reckon it takes me around 15 mins to walk there. So to reduce the travel time, I decided to use the oBike again.
This time with the oBike, I was able to reduce the traveling time per trip to 7 mins. Total time traveling to and fro is 14 mins. Total distance traveled is 2.4km. Total calories burned is 112 kCal. Again it cost me nothing.
And the most important thing: Wifey not as unhappy when I got home – as I spent less time out :p
Parking was fairly easy. All I need to do is to find any public bicycle parking stands to park the bike – these are easily found in MRT stations, in HDB void decks, outside hawker centers etc….
Returning the bike was a matter of parking it at a designated public bike parking area and turning the bike lock on the back wheel to let the app know that the session is over.
oBike employs a credit system, where demerit points are given to users who break such rules. A bad credit score affects the cost of your ride.
Well, when I reached the HDB void deck (below where I was staying), I noticed 2 other oBikes parked there. Seems like it would be easy for me to access these bikes if I need to use them (parked nearer than I thought).
Well, I think Bike-sharing is a good idea. Personally, for me, it makes running errands (to places near where I am staying) much easier and faster.
I don’t intend to purchase a bicycle for myself as there isn’t any place to store the bicycle at home. I don’t find hanging a bicycle on the wall nice either. In addition, putting a bicycle in the common corridor is unsightly and the bicycle could be stolen.
I do not mind trying the bicycles from these bike sharing companies again. The pricing isn’t that expensive as well.
It is a cheap and easy way to go to nearby places (while burning calories).
>> Faster than walking through the last miles from HDB to MRT
>> Cheaper than taking a cab
>> Less time-consuming than waiting for a bus
>> Healthy and environmental-friendly