Owning a personal bike is a great investment if you are living in a small city and have to frequently commute a lot. This gets rid of getting stuck in traffic during busy hours and also saves gas. It also gives you total freedom in your mobility.
With rapid urbanisation and with technological pace, bike sharing service has been introduced as a platform where a bicycle or an e-bike is made available to be shared by an individual in exchange for payment. This results in a better affordable transportation alternative.
In this article, we will consider both these options and brainstorm a better choice between the two.
History of bicycle and bike sharing
The earliest claim for a practically used bicycle belongs to Baron Karl Von Drais, a german civil servant. He invented Laufmaschine (German for running machine) in 1817 and then later patented his design.
Over the year, the bicycle became to come in various designs and shapes, from unicycles to tricycles, and went by various names too. Fast forward to the 21st century, and thanks to technological advancement, we are now at the peak of bike advancement.
We are now in an era of the commute bike, mountain bike, hardtail bike, motorbike, and with the recent addition of the e-bike. Though the concept of the e-bike dates back to the 19th century, the innovation of a full-fledged e-bike is fairly new.
The first bike-sharing program was known as Witte Fietsen (White Bikes). In 1965, in Amsterdam, this ride-sharing system collected bicycles and painted them white, and just simply placed them on the streets for public use.
Due to the lack of any payment system, these bikes got either stolen or damaged. It was only during the early 2000s, that the bike-sharing industry would catch on. Then with the pandemic, this industry saw good profit due to the nature of its solo mobility with fewer human interference.
Pros and cons of owning a personal bike
There is nothing like owning a personal bike. This urge comes from early childhood and with the ongoing nature of the world, the desire to own a bike aligns with necessity and purpose.
Your personal bike could just be a road bike, with the intention of commuting if your route is of smooth terrain. The hardtails are designed specifically for cross-country rides whereas full-suspension bikes give you more control over downhill and rough terrains.
Ever since the pandemic, bicycle sales have peaked due to their feasibility. Bike commuting helps to maintain body fitness. Due to the worldwide instability of gas and fuel prices, more people are indulging themselves in buying personal bikes to make their daily destinations.
You buy your own bike based on your comfort and feel. This directly reflects on your health benefits. An improper-sized bike can cause you discomfort while biking and moreover can cause accidents.
Personal bikes are prone to maintenance based on your usage. Sometimes commuting may involve riding on rough bumpy roads which can cause potential damage over time.
This cost increases with the nature of your bike type, brand, and sustainability. There is also a risk of your bike getting stolen. You are also somewhat restricted to commuting during inclement weather.
You are also limited to your wardrobe options on a personal bike unless you have an e-bike which is quite an expensive option. You cannot hang a suit on your bike while you are on your way to your office.
Pros and cons of bike sharing
With the “micro-mobility” theme in mind, recent bike-sharing services provide riders with an economical mode of transportation, particularly for those who reside in low-income areas.
This is why bike-sharing programs are prevalent in urban areas. It can be difficult and irritating to drive a car through crowded streets. Because of this, bike sharing is quite the optimum transportation option.
You also lessen your carbon footprint and protect the environment by borrowing a bike from a bike-sharing system. As road transport is one of the most polluting sectors of the world, the system really benefits from this and keeps the surroundings clean and noise free.
A common disadvantage of bike sharing systems is since they are all connected mostly by a mobile application platform, you will need a smartphone to connect to the system.
Although you can use bike-sharing programs to go around the city, their numbers could be limited. If the bike is unavailable, waiting can be inconvenient. This issue might arise during rush hour when you need to be present at a destination in due time.
Hygiene issues can be another con of bike sharing. Because many people have undoubtedly used the bike before you, shared bikes can be rather unclean. This is always an issue because the seat and handlebars could be a particular breeding area for germs.
Final verdict, which one is better?
As per recent research, bike sharing is much safer than riding personal bikes for commuting. Road bikes are typically built and designed with a view to moving ahead, faster. It’s a huge risk while commuting through traffic and congested situations.
Bicycles used for public bike sharing are frequently heavier, have wider tires, are painted in vivid colors, and have fewer gears. Additionally, even experienced riders don’t have as much faith in their bikes, which results in a slow and careful commute to the destination.
Limiting the speed of shareable bikes due to their heftiness and large bodies, the riders automatically think that they are not built for safety! For this very reason, sharing bike accidents are very rare. You also don’t need to worry about the maintenance of the bike while sharing.
Biking isn’t that dangerous at all. While the data on bike sharing use is plenty, the data on personal biking is non-existent, which makes the comparison difficult.
A personal bike gives full freedom and access to your space and convenience. Whereas the bike sharing scheme serves you a hassle-free experience for your short commute with affordable expense.