Our resident bike expert tries out Singapore’s new bike sharing programme, oBike. Does it live up to her discerning Dutch standards?
As a Dutchie I of course learned how to ride a bicycle before I could talk… and as a Dutch Mama in Singapore I have kept to my roots and cycle all over the East Coast (my ‘hood) with one or two kids in tow, bags of groceries, my yoga mat, cold brew in my basket — you name it! However, the hot and humid Singapore weather does restrain me from cycling across town to our co-working space Trehaus close to Orchard Road or meetings with clients. Not loving the wet look!
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But at an MRT station recently I discovered the yellow, eye-catching oBikes from a local-based company creating Singapore’s first stationless smart bike share system. As I was running late I decided to swap the 15-minute speed walk for a shorter bike ride. I instantly downloaded the OBIKE app on the spot, paid the $49 one-time refundable deposit with my credit card, and then was able to unlock the oBike by scanning the bike’s QR code (which is smack in the middle of the handlebar) into my phone. And away I peddled! Easy does it and the ride is quite cheap (which you know all Dutch people love!) at $0.50/15mins.
The app tells you if there is a bike in your vicinity should you not see one, while it also allows you to find and reserve a bike close to you, which is especially convenient during rush hour! Personally I think it’s ideal for short bike rides to and from an MRT station or a quick dash to a shop or restaurant.
When you have reached your destination, park the bike (preferably in a designated bike rack) and simply lock the bike so that the app will know that that oBike is up for grabs!
What I do not like about the oBike is that it is a heavy bicycle without gears; another Dutchie told me that there is talk of a lighter and leaner bicycle, so keeping my fingers crossed. But, hey who are we to complain? The oBike is less time consuming than waiting for a bus, environmentally friendly, and a good little dose of exercise. If only the outside temperature in Singapore dropped by 10 degrees Celsius….