Saturday morning was sunny and warm. The rest of the week didn’t look so good weatherwise and I couldn’t really concentrate on work. I’d done more than I was set so decided to give myself the day off and have a mini adventure.

There are a few things I want to do over the summer and one of them was to ride a Mobike. Mobikes arrived in the city a few weeks ago. They are big in China and Singapore and Manchester was to be their first city in Europe. Basically they are bikes you can hire for short trips in busy cities.

How is this done? Well it’s quite easy. You download the app. Make sure it’s the UK one. Unless you are fluent in Mandarin of course then fill your boots. You register and pay a refundable deposit of just under £30. You can do this on your phone or tablet. Once you’ve done that you’re good to go. The bikes are all over Manchester. You don’t have to go to a docking station like with the Boris Bikes in London. Each bike has a chip in it that shows up on a map on your phone. It tells you where they all are. You walk to one. Scan the code on the bike with your phone, the lock opens with a satisfying click and off you go.

Mobike has had a spot of bother since they launched in the city. They said the bikes were virtually indestructible, which was red rag to a bull to some of the local riff raff who took pleasure in proving them wrong. And you can leave the bike anywhere once you have finished your journey. I don’t think Mobike thought about the bottom of the Rochdale/Ashton/Bridgewater Canals. Some people thought that once they had ridden one it was theirs and some ended up behind people’s houses to be used as and when they wanted. Those people get visits.           

What did I learn riding my Mobike?

1. I haven’t ridden a bike since I passed my driving test. It’s true you never forget but it takes a while to get back to speed.

2. I’d ridden my bike in the leafy suburbs of South Manchester. City centre traffic and crowds are a completely different kettle of fish.

3. Your legs will feel wobbly after your ride. Your butt will hurt the next day…and the day after!

4. You will be surprised how many slopes and cobbled streets Manchester has until you cycle! Mobike has one gear so I’m not sure how well it would do in a hilly city like Bristol or Lincoln.

5. The tyres of your Mobike will fit comfortably into the tracks of the tram system on Cross Street (or anywhere else for that matter). At that point you will fall over. Much to the amusement of the crowds heading to the Jazz Festival in Albert Square. Nothing to see here folks. Move along please. At least there wasn’t a tram behind me or my Mobike and I would have had our adventure curtailed pretty quickly. Remember, in a tram vs Mobike clash, tram always wins.

6. Riding your Mobike around flat, beautifully paved, spacious  St Peter’s Square is a pleasure. Deansgate? Less so.

So where did we get to? I got off the tram in St Peter’s Square and there was a nice line of them by the library. There was also a Chinese TV crew doing an interview. I picked my Mobike from the other end of the line. Then fell into conversation with one of them. Am I destined to be big in Shanghai?

Here’s my bike, number 563. I think there are a 1000 in the city at the moment.

Mobike checking out progress on Manchester’s newest tallest tower on Owen Street…

Small bike, big tower…the Hilton Tower, currently the tallest building in the city…

Little bike, big bike outside Deansgate Station.

Mobike meets Frederick Engles outside HOME….

Mobike ready for some classical tunes outside the Bridgewater Hall…

Mobike paying respects to the city’s war dead at the Cenotaph…

Mobike soaking up more culture at Manchester Art Gallery. He’s a regular culture vulture…

Mobike staying a respectful distance from the trams in St. Peter’s Square in a city getting ready for the Pride celebration at the end of the month…

Mobike selfie in front of the stunning portico of Central Library…

Mobike chilling at the Jazz Festival in Albert Square…

Mobike buying flowers for his Mobike gf at Flourish under the tower of St Ann’s Church…

Shopping, eating or having your haircut at BarberBarber in Barton Arcade. Off limits for Mobikes I think…

It’s having its summer break so the theatre’s dark, nothing to see at the Royal Exchange Theatre until September, Mobike…

Fancy a pint at the Old Wellington Inn, one of the city’s oldest buildings? Not when in charge of a Mobike…

Mobike with a Mobike bud outside Manchester Cathedral. It’s having some work done on the tower it seems…

Checking out another of Manchester’s new skyscrapers, Exchange Court with its golden cladding at Greengate…

Mobike wants to play with the kids in the dancing fountains in Greengate Square…

How much for insurance of a Mobike? Check out the offers at Swinton Insurance in their swanky, new offices at Embankment…

Mobike outside the National Football Museum with the iconic CIS Tower behind it…

Checking out Medieval Chetham’s School of Music and Library with Mobike, the oldest, in use, building in the city I think…

Mobike with a new Manchester iconic building, the Co Op HQ on Angel Square… 

Afternoon tea at the Midland Hotel with Mobike…

Some fellow mobikers. People who live and work in the city have taken to them as a fun and convenient way to get about. Would they be good for tourists given you need to download apps? Could I use my account on trips to China or Singapore? Or Florence, Italy? They have opened there I hear but, as I remember, Florence is is a river valley surrounded by the beautiful, but steep hills of Tuscany…

Saying goodbye to my Mobike, returned safely to St Peter’s Square. Just click the lock back into the closed position and your ride is finished. I was sad to say goodbye after our mini adventure. I wish him well in the future and hope other people treat him with respect…

Mobike 563. I’ll have to keep an eye open for him and see if we can do it again sometime…

To pay you transfer money to an online wallet on the app. My 92 minute ride cost me £2. I covered an amazing 16.6 Kms, just over 10 miles. I think I’d save 2kg of carbon emissions and had burned 895 calories doing it. It was a fun experience and I will be doing it again. More Mobike mini adventures to come…    

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