Friday, July 3, 2015

Public City Bicycles Not Only for Getting Around Zhuzhou

In 2011 Zhuzhou became the first city in Hunan province to operate a public bicycle rental system. When I was in Zhuzhou a month or so ago, I came across a few of the many stations where city bicycles could be rented or returned.

public city bicycle station in Zhuzhou

There is much which could be said about Zhuzhou's system. I will limit myself here to two things which especially caught my eye from a user experience perspective.

One was that some of the bicycles available have a special feature: an added seat, presumably for a smaller rider.

Zhuzhou city bicycles with two seats

These bikes also have an extra bar, apparently for the second rider to hold. Since it is attached to the main handlebar, it is easy to wonder whether this could make steering the bicycle more difficult and present a safety issue.

The other thing I noticed requires having a suitably sized block of wood or similarly strong object handy.

man using a propped-up docked city bicycle as a stationary exercise bicycle

Like the man in the above photo, if you prop up a docked bicycle, you have yourself a free stationary exercise device. And unlike renting the bicycles for a less stationary ride, it won't cost you any money no matter how long you use it.

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