What is it?
If you haven't heard, oBike is one of the growing number of bike-sharing schemes, allowing customers to hire bikes via the oBike app. It was founded just a year ago in Singapore, and has now expanded to 12 countries worldwide and thousands of bikes, with over 1 million downloads and counting of the oBike app.
oBikes are 'dockless', so you don't need to leave them in a specific docking station when you're done (although soon the oBike app will display recommended docking zones) and they're equipped with Bluetooth locks that open when you pay for your hire. They're surprisingly cheap, at just 50p for a half hour ride in London, and all bikes have lights, a basket, mudguards and are single speed. Your account will tell you the accumulative distance you've ridden, calories burned and kilograms of carbon emissions saved.
What makes it unique?
Until very recently, not a lot distinguished oBike from the Chinese Mobike or ofo bike-sharing apps... but two big announcements have just set it apart. In Singapore oBike have just launched oBike Flash, a 'crowdsourced delivery service' that allows app users to get items delivered within their locality by an oBike 'Flashman', who will have signed up to be a Flashman on the app. They promise your item can be delivered in as little as two hours, although they don't specify maximum journey length for the courier or pricing yet. Currently, oBike Flash is only available as an update to the oBike app in Singapore.
The second change is the launch of oBike's cryptocurrency called oCoin, which is tied to the TRON platform. oBike users wil be able to earn oCoin and use it to pay for rides on the app amongst other things, and also Flashman couriers will be able to earn oCoin for making deliveries.
How can it help me?
It can help you get around town for fairly cheap and emission-free providing you're in one of the places oBike operates... and soon it might be able to help you get a parcel delivered and earn some virtual currency. What a time to be alive!
Where can I get it?
You can download oBike on both Android and iOS for free, and they have fleets in many major cities such as London, Madrid, Rotterdam and Singapore. A ride in London costs just 50p for half an hour with a £49 deposit. You can use oBike's referral system to get three £1 coupons if you can get a friend to sign up. The oCoin cryptocurrency is only open to institutional investors at the moment (four billion coins have gone on sale), but it's expected oBike users will be able to start earning oCoin some time in this financial quarter.
After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He was Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine for two years before joining road.cc in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the road.cc live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.