Mobike, obike, o not another bike… cycle-sharing is about to get even more crowded in London.
Ofo is the latest bike-sharing startup to launch in the capital, bringing 200 cycles to the streets of Hackney without the need for docking like the capital's Boris Bikes (or Santander Cycles as they're officially known).
It follows a successful trial by the Chinese startup backed by Uber rival Didi Chuxing earlier this year in Cambridge and Oxford, and also follows in the bike tracks of other new firms.
Singapore's oBike pulled up over the summer, becoming a site more familiar than Pret along roads in some areas of London, while China's Mobike arrived shortly after in Ealing, with plans for expansion, something Ofo is also planning after the initial beta trial.
“We’re delighted to announce that ofo is coming to Hackney, a borough famed for leading the way on cleaner, greener transport, with the highest cycling rates in the Capital," said Ofo's UK operations director Joseph Seal-Driver. "We hope Hackney residents will take our bikes for a test drive when they hit the streets on Thursday."
And a European rival, Ireland-founded Urbo, is set to launch in October starting with 250 cycles in north east London.
“Ultimately, cycling is meant to be fun, affordable and convenient, and we are determined to work with local authorities to make it truly accessible to the residents and visitors of Waltham Forest," said Urbo co-founder Shane Connaughton. "Our goal is now to expand the scheme across the city, bringing a valuable and enjoyable transport service to all those who live, work, and spend time in the capital.”
Both have seemingly learned from the experience of oBike, whose flood of cycles into Hammersmith caused the local council to take action, and are working with the relevant authorities where they plan to launch.
All the apps work by using a smartphone to locate a bike which can then be used to unlock it.