How to Rent a Bicycle in Beijing

 

Beijing has a large number of bicycle rental shops-especially around subway and park entrances.

 

Bicycling down one of Beijing's hutongs (ancient alleyways in Beijing) is a magical experience. And luckily, the city is home to a large number of bicycle rental shops - especially around subway and park entrances.

 

Each rental shop has its own specific rental policies, but we can still provide some helpful general information.

 

Cost

 

Renting a bicycle should be a fairly inexpensive proposition. The manager of "Bird of Freedom," a well-known rental shop on historic Qianmen Dajie, charges 15 RMB / day for his nicer Giant brand bicycles, while only 2 RMB / day for his shabbiest, yet still functional, bicycles. Expect similar prices at other shops. If a shop is too expensive, simply go to another one.

 

Deposit

 

Foreigners looking to rent a bike should come with their passport, Chinese with their identity card. Rental shops will record your passport/identity card number and then ask for a cash deposit. Some might accept your passport/identity card as collateral, but we would advise against letting such important documents out of your possession.

 

While bicycle rental costs are low, deposits are generally high - usually the cost of the bicycle being rented - meaning several hundred RMB. This is to be expected, as rental shops realize that even with passport/identity card numbers, law enforcement won't do anything over a missing bike.

 

Tips

 

(1) Inspect your bicycle before leaving with it. Inform the rental store manager if there is any pre-existing damage, so you won't be held liable.

 

(2) The rental shop will provide you with a lock, or even two. But these locks are usually pretty flimsy. So try to park in a safe place. There are bicycle parking lots all across the city, each staffed with an attendant who guards the bikes. They cost just a few mao to park in and don't have time limits. Another good idea, rent an ordinary-looking bicycle that few thieves would be interested in.

[source:CRI]