Bike Share program, but Beijing has had a program since June of 2012. This weekend--ever the earnest environmentalist--I decided to "register."
First, we called the phone number and were told that for foreign nationals to participate, we needed to bring my Temporary Residency Permit and Passport along with a Beijing Municipal Administration & Communication card (subway card) to one of the five registration offices to activate said card.
I emerged some while later with a bit of a queue formed behind me and crossed the street to one of the 120 drop-off points. It took me a while with the Chinese-language only machine, but I managed to free a bicycle whose kickstand was, to the bemusement of a helpful-ish older gentleman watching my struggle, beyond my ken. After he helped me "get it up," I mounted the bike and was ready to pedal off to Church, but this, the first of only two bicycles in the dispensary, was broken.
In my frustration, I returned to the window and asked for a refund, which they could not give even though the bicycle had been properly re-inserted and was locked back into the dispensary, because my subway card showed that it was still checked out. I re-crossed the street and some new people were removing the bike and discovering that it did not work. I put my card on the kiosk and magically, it appeared to be checked-in. I returned to the window and got my refund. This was a whole lot of wasted effort.
At dinner, my girlfriend, who was very helpful though not very patient throughout this whole episode, said to me, "It is like educating a f&#king son." My jaw dropped, but I suppose that I was a bit foolish.
Allergic to exercise, she had told me that she would not bother with the program and expected that I would intuit that such a program was likely to be fraught with problems. Wide-eyed and naive since my Middlebury College days when we tried to get a bike share program started there, I was bent on participating. Maybe I will yet, but for now I am taking my $65 and buying a cheap, new bike.