Using Shared Bicycles in China

by | Aug 29, 2023

Using Shared Bikes | That's Mandarin

If you’ve spent some time in China, you’ll definitely notice countless rows of colorful bicycles lining sidewalks. From the convenience of navigating crowded streets to the affordability it offers, using shared bicycles in China became one of the most popular transportation modes for locals and tourists alike.

Bikes | That's Mandarin

共享单车: Using Shared Bicycles in China

01. Bicycles and E-bikes

There is a diverse range of shared bikes, including traditional pedal-powered bicycles and electric bikes that can be easily accessed with a smartphone.

Shared Bikes | That's Mandarin

(lit. “self-moving vehicle”)

diàndòng zìxíngchē
electric bicycle(s)

gòngxiǎng dānchē
shared bike(s)

Both the measure words 辆 (liàng) and 部 (bù) are used for bicycles in Chinese. However, 辆 (liàng) is the more common option, and 部 (bù) sounds more formal.

02. Installing the App(s)

To start using shared bicycles, you need to make sure that you’ve downloaded the corresponding app (HelloBike*, Meituan, etc). After downloading the apps, you’ll be able to add Alipay as a payment method.

Alipay | That's Mandarin

*In case with HelloBike, you can also use it directly within Alipay, where HelloBike comes as a mini-program.

03. Using shared bicycles

Starting riding a bike is usually easy. Once you’ve found a bike that fits you well, open the app on your phone and scan the QR code on the bike.

Scan Alipay | That's Mandarin

sǎo yi sǎo
scan (the QR code)

If bike is not broken (unfortunately, bikes get damaged easily), the lock will open automatically, and you’ll be able to start your ride.

To unlock | That's Mandarin
kāi suǒ
to unlock

To ride | That's Mandarin
to ride

When you’re finished, park your bike carefully near other bikes and click on the lock under the bike’s seat. It will take a few seconds, but as soon as you hear “beep” sound, you’re set.

To lock | That's Mandarin
guān suǒ
to lock

Once your bike is locked, the bike fare summary will be sent to your biking app automatically.

Bike fare | That's Mandarin
bike fare

04. Biking Tips

While biking in China offers many advantages, it’s important to follow traffic rules, especially if you are a new to biking in China.

Information | That's Mandarin
01. Follow the traffic laws and regulations.

02. Stay safe. Always ride at a safe speed, and wear a helmet if you are using an e-bike.

03. Stay alert. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, ride slowly, and only on designated cycle lanes.

04. Stay focused. Don’t use your phone or any other electronic devices when biking.

05. Respect the pedestrians. Be mindful and avoid cycling on the sidewalks.

06. Take breaks and hydrate. Biking can be physically demanding, specially during hot weather.

07. Don’t forget to lock the bike. When you finished your ride, make sure you park your bike in a designated area close to other bikes.

Take It Further

Biking is a wonderful way to make the most of your leisure moments while delighting in the urban landscape. Do you know any other ways of spending time? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section!

Moreover, take a moment to check the article on 7 Useful Chinese Words For Hiking which presents yet another idea for spending your spare time.


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