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Mobike launches 1RMB bike rental in Shanghai

How to take advantage of this two-wheeled steal

mobike.com offers cheap bike rental in Shanghai
A flock of rentable bright orange bikes have sprung up around town lately, but thankfully they’re much easier to take for a spin than the ranks of Forever bicycles that involve a mafan registration system. Set up by Mobike - a company created by a former Uber employee - this new rental programme not only allows you to pick up a pair of wheels for just 1RMB per half hour, but is also happy for you to drop the bike off wherever you like in the city, rather than search for a depot as with the government-run alternative.

The outstanding things about this new system are the use of QR codes, the absence of keys (so no losing them in your coat lining), the low cost of renting a bike and being able to drop them off wherever you want. Mobike also scores bonus points for the minimalistic user interface and some sexy silver frames in addition to the standard orange ones.

Here's how to get started on Mobike:

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1. Once you've downloaded the app and after you swipe pass the short introductory guide, you will get to this page where the GPS will locate your current position and scan to see if there are any bikes in the area. If there are any, orange bike icons will pop up all over the screen.

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2. Click on the orange icon that's most convenient for you (in this case we are only presented with one option so we went with that) and the app will calculate the distance of the bike from your current location and give you details such as the number of bikes at that point and the time needed for you to travel to get to the bike.

3. Before you secure your bike, you will be prompted to create an account and sign in. It's fairly simple but for non-Chinese ID holders there's an extra step (see below). Key in your phone number and subsequently the PIN that is sent to your phone.

4. Although part of Mobike's hype is the very affordable 1RMB per half hour bike rental, you have to pay a deposit of 299RMB either via WeChat or Alipay before to complete registration. The deposit is refundable, although it will take up to 1-5 working days for it to be processed after you request for a refund.

5. To register, you need to send in two different photos of yourself with a shot of your passport or identity card to the folks at Mobike and they promise to complete your registration within 24 hours (so plan ahead if it's your first time).

Once all the steps are completed, you can proceed to pick up your bike. All you have to do is scan the unique QR code on one of the sleek bikes with your phone to unlock it and ride away!

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Mobike can be downloaded from the website www.mobike.com for both Apple and Android devices.
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