bike-239882_1920
Image: © Efraimstochter via Pixabay

Attempt at bike-sharing in Manchester goes tits up

Mobike is leaving Manchester after 10% of their bicycles were damaged or nicked in under a month.

Mobike is leaving Manchester after 10% of their bicycles were damaged or nicked in under a month.

What it means: It sounded like a great idea. Let people cheaply rent bicycles and leave them wherever they liked; a microchip and a smartphone would allow the next wannabe-cyclist to find the discarded wheels. To be fair to Mobike, that model did work well in China, where the bikes became popular and the company became worth $3.7 billion.

Mobike boasted that its bicycles were theft and vandal proof. They were wrong. Some of the bikes were found on top of lamposts. (We might be petty thieves, but at least we're creative petty thieves.)

The drama is a knockback for people keen on expanding the sharing economy, which is where people rent stuff from each other via the internet. If you’ve ever called an Uber, freelanced on TaskRabbit or slept in an AirBnb, you’ve taken part in the sharing economy. Some superfans think it could herald the end of property where nobody would own anything anymore. Guess we're not quite there yet.

Recent articles

Reader Comments

  • ClawV23

    So they’re more or less becoming homeless on purpose and taking advantage of people’s kindness? That’s very disappointing, I’ve always imagined myself walking on the path of the monk but my idea of a modern monk was to achieve a level of independence at which I can grow my own food on a piece of land I own, make my own hemp clothes and live in a small log cabin somewhere outside civilization instead of begging people for a bowl of food.