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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Bike rental chaos

Competition between companies is all well and good, but it is important that you seek Permission from the Relevant Authorities before doing anything at all. Anything else would just not be Sustainable. It would be Chaos. Neoliberalism Gone Mad!

For example, if there is more than one company renting out bikes, pretty soon careless customers of the new upstart Chinese Infiltrating Globalist Menace company will be Dumping bikes all over the place and interfering with the nice customers of the Official company with the Council Contract who are carefully placing their bikes next to the State Approved Bike Racks.

This is the sort of Irresponsible Behaviour that can tarnish the carefully cultivated reputation of Right Thinking bicycle renters and confuse Consumers who might not understand that there are two different companies renting out bicycles with bewilderingly different tarrifs and branding. And it is simply Reckless and Greedy business practice to enter a market without consulting Stakeholders about the Need for two competing businesses.

I approve of competition but not Unfettered, Unregulated, Inefficient competition of the sort that can leave a Bad Taste and clutter up the town. It is just not civilised and Something Must Be Done.

23 comments to Bike rental chaos

  • QET

    First they came for Uber, but I don’t use Uber and so I said nothing. Then they came for the bicycles, but I don’t ride bicycles, so I said nothing. . . . . .

  • Julie near Chicago

    My Great Frog, Rob, what you describe would truly be a Cat Astrophe. (Cata Postrophe? –Something awful, anyway.)

    Well said, admirably exposited. I think you should send it somewhere for publication, where like-minded persons can be simultaneously outraged by the infiltration into the bike-rental market and highly entertained by your deeply-thought expression of indignant dismay. Especially the Indignant part. Let me suggest Samizdata.net as a most suitable venue.

    Do keep up the good work! 😛

  • George

    I see that you are proficient in Bureaucrat Speak. Use your power wisely.

  • Perry Metzger (New York, USA)

    We need an anti-dog-eat-dog rule, but for bicycles!

  • bobby b

    I suggest someone start a hashtag.

    Maybe #AlwaysGetPermission!

    Or #StopHateBikes!

  • Martin

    I read the article, and I’m a bit confused. Are these bike schemes sustainable, or something? The article wasn’t quite clear on the matter.

  • bobby b

    Just noticed one of the comments in the OP’s link story:

    “Public spaces are ought to be regulated and without any such regulation we will end up with mountains of bikes that will end up with Bath cancelling all bike sharing schemes altogether. These “free market” arguments are viscous and you’re just calling for yourself to suffer from cruel flooding of money by the Chinese. Bloody hell…don’t sell yourselves out.”

    Yeah, they’re viscous, alright. If this damned free market has its way, we’ll all be buried in a mountain of free Chinese bikes!

    Perhaps Corbyn is the proper ruler of such people.

  • NickM

    I have only rented a bike once. That was on Key West,FL. There were several companies in the market and what I didn’t witness was the zombie bikeopalypse. It worked rather well in fact. Indeed if I’d had a few too many mojitos than was strictly speaking good for me all the taxis had bike racks on the back as well.

    It all worked very well. But. Then Key West is not the land of Ms Austen is it? Or of Mr Darcy on an unregulated bicyclette! *swoons*.

  • Timrules

    Silly Pommies – why not just use the resources of the taxpayer and the power of the State to crush the horror of the two-wheeled free-for-all?


  • Laird

    Don’t you just hate it when you get bogged down in one of those “viscous” arguments? 😛

  • RAB

    Well well! I have actually seen one of these bikes (just the one mind) in my local park (St Andrews). Initially I thought… that’s an odd place to park a bike (in the middle of a path) and what a crap colour. Then I took a closer look and it was indeed a pay as you go cycle. I must say that I have yet to see any officially sanctioned ones here in Bristol, so best of luck to the company concerned.

  • Cal Ford

    Rob, you’ve barely added any satire to what they really think.

  • Julie near Chicago


    Putting my point another way: What Cal Ford said !!

  • Julie near Chicago

    And I don’t want any viscous comments outta you, young Laird, nor outta bobby neither ! 😉

  • bobby b

    I have to admit that I’ve been much slower to call out peoples’ misspellings ever since my new phone’s autocorrect led me to tell my mom that I’d be over later, after I finished screwing for a friend on his Y-boat.

    (Crewing. Yes, mom, I meant crewing. I think she shared that with every one of her friends and acquaintances.)

  • Julie near Chicago

    Well, young man, if I was yer Mum all my friends would know about it too! 😆 😆 😆

  • Rob Fisher (Surrey)

    I think Cal is right, Julie. I need to up my game!

    Btw, I just posted this as a comment on the article. Should have done that sooner.

  • monoi

    Is there no limit to the Russians nefarious purposes? (I know the article says they’re a Chinese startup, but are they really?)

  • Watchman


    It’s not the Russians, it’s the lizard people.

    Although if it is, it’s a silly idea, as lizards don’t have the physiology to ride bikes, so we can just escape their upcoming takeover of the world on a pay as you ride basis. So there is a happy ending – oh sorry, someone’s just handed me a note – apparently the ‘lizard people’ is a code for a particular ethnic group, who can ride bikes. We’re doomed…

  • I assume everybody already knows but, Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn already did it: Something Must Be Done

  • Paul Marks

    A good imitation of the sort language that the interventionists (of all parties) use to justify their interventionism.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Oh my, Ted — Sir Arnold at his best! You’ve made my day. Thank you! 😆