It's fair to say that Shanghai is the ultimate bike-sharing boomtown. First we had the Mobike, sleek rental bikes with fancy GPS tracking systems and digital locks. How convenient, we thought. How innovative. Then the Ofo came along – offering a cheaper service, whilst serving cheerful canary-yellow realness.
Fast forward six months and we've been overrun by bicycles of varying levels of quality sporting every hideous colour combination imaginable (watch out for the gold tuhao bike – yes, it's a thing and no you can't unsee it). It's like the biblical plague of locusts in the modern age, but with no Moses or scope for salvation.
Convenience, gimmicks and wardrobe-bicycle coordination aside, Shanghai's myriad of rental bikes has become a serious pain in the ass. We're talking shaky, un-roadworthy non-cyclists-who-now-think-they-are-cyclists cutting you off at major intersections, congested pavements crammed with hundreds of dumped bikes (Jingan Temple metro station, we're looking at you) and renters fannying around as they execute awkward exit strategies with their rental. Then we've got rental bikes of all descriptions parked outside your apartment building – or inside, believe it or not – and streetside altercations as more serious bikers duel to the death just to snag a Mobike Lite.
Last but not least, know this: these cumbersome city bikes are made solely for the purpose of pottering around town – you're going nowhere fast. So unless you want to look like an extra from Gorillas in the Mist trundling clumsily through the Former French Concession, take it slow, or catch a Didi.