Ofo Service


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How To Get Around Adelaide For Cheap

Published by Michael Dib

The beginnings

Ofo has begun to make its mark in Australia. This bike company is the latest craze that is taking over the bike sharing industry. I recalled how when I left in late June to do an exchange semester overseas in France there had not been a single bike around. When I arrived to the city of Reims it was still the case. As I traveled throughout the semester I found such bike sharing companies (similar but different ones) in Strasbourg and Paris. When I returned to Reims after one of said trips I started finding green share bikes from the company Gobee which instantly became popular amongst students, young adults and pretty much everybody else.

How To Get Around Adelaide For Cheap

(Source: https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/25/gobee-bike-throws-in-the-towel-on-france/)

Back home

When I returned to Adelaide by February I was pleasantly surprised to find many of these yellow share bikes all around the city. A bit of background about the company. Apparently it had been created by five members of the Peking University cycling club that had tried it out was a project in 2015. They had experienced critical acclaim and quickly expanded using funding from fellow students and Alumni. As it further increased in popularity they decided to expand to different cities in China. The project went so well that it expanded internationally to just under two dozen countries so far.

It's incredible to think that a simple club of bike enthusiasts would be at the forefront of a company worthed at more than three billion dollars. This kind of wants to make you work on your own projects at university and see if you can be an overnight millionaire. Although, it is worth noting that they received great swaths of funding from Chinese tech firms and even a Russian investor group that raised almost half a billion dollars.

Back to reality. These bikes can be found throughout all of Adelaide. There are designated areas where bikes can sometimes be found. Although by the time the morning is over you will have these bikes scattered all over the city. Some bikes can be found far outside the city. Luckily, Ofo hires a group of trucks to roam the outer areas of Adelaide and collect said bikes so as to return them to designated bike areas for easier access by users.

To take part of these services you will have to sign up through their Ofo app on your phone. From there you will have to input your credit card details. To use these services you will be automatically charged a dollar for every thirty minutes of usage. Even if you use it for a minute then you will be charged that dollar. Unlike Gobee bike in France, you will not have to pay a fifteen euro deposit. This makes signing up more tantalising and straightforward. It is also worth noting that I have used Ofo bikes dozens of times. It has been free throughout the month of February. I still have not paid a dollar to use their bikes. Although as I write this February is only a few days from being over.

How To Get Around Adelaide For Cheap

(Source:http://www.wired.co.uk/article/chinese-bike-sharing-company-ofo-is-coming-to-cambridge-in-the-uk)

How it works

Regardless, to unlock one of these bikes you will have to open the Ofo app right next to it. You will need to turn on your bluetooth and gps (you will also need wifi or mobile data). Once all those are on and you click the unlock button your screen will be presented with a scanner screen. You will have to scan one of two barcodes located at the back of the bike. If there is an issue of scanning then you will be presented a code which you will have to punch into the bike on number keys found right under the bike. Either option will lead to the lock of the bike being released and the helmet (that is usually tied around the lock) will also be released.

From there, you can put on your helmet and cycle to wherever. The bike has three different gears to get you around. One for uphills, two for regular, three for downhills. If you ever find an issue with the bike then I recommend you report it. You will simply need to go on your bike app and click on the ‘bike damaged’  option where you can report which part of the bike is damaged and which bike it is (there will be a number code right next to the number pad). Once you unlock the bike then you can turn off your bluetooth, gps and even mobile internet if you’re looking to save phone battery.

How To Get Around Adelaide For Cheap

(Source:http://www.timeoutbeijing.com/features/Living_in_Beijing/158024/How-to-use-Ofo-shared-bikes.html)

If you’re looking to find the actual bike’s location then you will need to go on the app with your gps turned on. You will be shown a map with all the nearby bikes and even the farther ones away and where they are located. I have unfortunately been slightly annoyed by this feature as often they are not found in the exact place they mentioned. Sometimes they are not even located there. So it's often a bit of a pain looking for a bike on busy days such as thursday-saturday. Excluding those days it is relatively easy to always find a bike. For example, last night it was a tuesday and I was surrounded by at least four bikes on Hindley street (one of the busiest streets in Adelaide).

Another irk I have is the newest feature that had been added a few days before the end of february (in my case three days ago). Ever since then you have to park the bike in a designated area. This is fine if you live in the west, Northwest and South western part of Adelaide. If you live in the north, east or southeastern part of the city then you are outside the geolocation zone. There are pockets of zones in this eastern area although the closest one to mine is a twenty minute walk. Which defeats the purpose of using a bike to get home. The issue with this is that if you do not park in a designated area then you will be deducted twenty points from your ofo score. You will start off with 100 points and gain a point every time you ride your bike and an extra point if you drop it off at a designated area.The amount of points for each offence varies. Sometimes you lose 50 to 100 points depending on how gravely you damage the bike.

How To Get Around Adelaide For Cheap

(Source:https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/parking-zones-more-bicycle-racks-part-of-new-bike-sharing-pilot-8805582)

Overall, the ofo experience has been a good one. I have probably saved dozens upon dozens of dollars from bus and taxi fares by simply cycling everywhere. It's also a safe experience in the sense that you simply need to lock your helmet and bike on the side of the street and move on in life. You won't have to worry about the bike getting stolen as it is not your responsibility outside locking it properly. Availability is still a bit of an issue to look out for. However, I would recommend signing up to this app. Even if you have your own bike. If you go on a night out then you can take an ofo and not worry about your bike being stolen.

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