Beijing Bicycles for Rent
In a city that welcomes 1,000 new cars to its streets everyday, the Beijing Bicycle Rental Company is hoping to start a revolution. The growing company is China's first subscription-based bike sharing service, a slow but steady trend we've watched spread throughout Europe and that's growing in popularity stateside, too.
The BBRC was started more than two years ago by Wang Yong, a cycling enthusiast who launched his business with the profits he made from the three restaurants he owns. BBRC's system is similar to that used by Bicing in Barcelona and Velib in Paris: customers pick up a bicycle at a rental station, leave a 400 yuan ($53) credit-card deposit, and they're free to cruise the city for as long as they like (Velib only allows for 30-minute trips). Once they're finished, they drop the bike off at another station and their deposit is returned. So far, the company has set up 31 rental locations throughout the city, offering 500 bikes, but hopes to have 200 spots and 500,000 bikes on offer by the end of next year.