How to – Bike Sharing Service CoolQi

If you have not lived under a rock for the past couple of months, you must have seen the white and green bikes zooming around Shenyang. There seem to be thousands of them – provided by bike sharing service CoolQi – around the city. To use them, you need to download an app and pay a deposit of 298 RMB (refundable if you decide to stop using the app) and you are in business. Users then open the app to locate the bike(s) nearest them, scan the QR code on the back of the bike to unlock it and then get to use the bike for the remarkably low price of 0.3 RMB per half an hour. What’s not to love?!

6c0b840a24bb1a6a75b412When the green bikes first started appearing, the entire Landing East team was very excited to start using this environment-friendly and practical service to get around. Us foreigners on the team, however, soon had a rude awakening, when it transpired that a Chinese ID number (身份证号) was needed to sign up. So our passports were useless and we were still forced to trudge along on foot. But – being in China – things change. All the time. In this instance, the change that occurred was certainly quite positive: CoolQi decided to add an option for registering with other forms of identification (such as a passport or a driver’s license). Yay for us!286ed488c8281a357c6a01While we applaud CoolQi’s effort in adding this option, having an English version of the entire app would have been nice. Alas, this is not yet the case. If that does not scare you and you still want to use this nifty alternative mobility app, we can show you in this short tutorial how to set up your account and use the service.

ATTENTION! This service needs either WeChat pay or Alipay to work, so make sure at least one of those is enabled on your phone before attempting this.

To get you started on your bike-sharing adventure, please first download the app from your AppStore (for iPhone users) or GooglePlay (if you have an android phone). You can do this by typing or copy/pasting 酷骑单车 into the search field and downloading the app, which should look something like this:625625365.jpg 2017-05-08 19-39-05As an alternative, you can also extract the following QR code (by long-clicking onto the picture, you can choose “extract QR code”, which will take you to the AppStore or GooglePlay respectively to download the app.Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 14.46.35You will have to scroll past a couple of introductory screens showing you how to use the app. You then get to a screen asking you to enter your phone number, right where it says 手机号: 请输入手机号 (cell phone number: please enter your cell phone number). After you do this, you need to click onto the button to the right that says 获取验证号 (retrieve confirmation number). Within seconds, you will receive an SMS with a 4 digit code you then need to enter into the field labeled 验证号: 请输入验证号 (confirmation number: please enter the confirmation number) before 60 seconds are up. If you wait too long, you can only reapply for a new confirmation number, as they become invalid within 60 seconds. So please stay in an area with good cell phone reception when you do this, to ensure you can receive the SMS in time.Bike_App_1The next step will be for you to put down a 298RMB deposit. You do this by choosing either WeChat pay or Alipay (whichever one is enabled on your phone or – if you have both – whichever one you prefer) and clicking on the orange bubble saying 去充值 (charge). The 298RMB will be deducted from your account after going through the normal payment steps for your chosen payment method. After this, you will automatically move on to the next step, the vetting of your information.1723543724.jpg 2017-05-08 20-26-15For Chinese citizens, this step is very easy – they simply enter their name and ID card information and get vetted straight away. For foreigners, it is a tad more complicated. Us non-Chinese-ID-card-holders need to choose the option Certificate the passport, certificate of officers, please click here underneath.248737786.jpg 2017-05-08 20-31-02This reroutes you to this screen:IMG_9957Here, you need to input your basic information (name, type of certificate (you here choose passport), certificate number, and nationality). Then they ask you to upload a picture of the first page of your passport and then a picture of yourself in which you are holding your passport in front of you. To do so, you choose the left grey box and then the second line of blue writing saying 拍照. You allow the app to use your camera and then take a picture of your passport open to the picture page that has all the essential information you just input into the system. Afterwards, you click on the 4 characters at the bottom right saying 使用照片 (use picture). You repeat the last step by clicking on grey box to the right and uploading a selfie showing you holding up your passport to the picture page. Then, you click 提交认证 (submit) to have this information vetted. The next screen will ask you to be patient while this step takes place, looking something like this:IMG_9964In our case, this took a couple of hours. If you are impatient, you can also have a Chinese friend call customer service to hurry them up. And then…you can start biking!

To do so, click on the upper of the two white circles at the bottom left corner of the screen, the one with the circle with an arrow on it that says 刷新 (meaning swipe again). This will give you an updated view of where in your vicinity the cool green and white bikes are located. By clicking on one (if you are as lazy as we are, it will be the one closest to you), the app will indicate how to walk to the bike’s location. Once you have found it, you need to scan the QR code located under the saddle towards the rear. Bike_App_2To do so, you click the oval bubble at the bottom of the screen with the scan icon and the four characters 扫码开锁 (scan the code to open lock). So then, once you have scanned the QR code, the lock located right underneath it will “magically” open.BikeIt is quite freaky, actually, when you do this for the first time. And then – you ride. For however long you like. If you stop anywhere and would like to stop using the bike or would like to have a prolonged pause during which the bike needs to be secured, you simply push the lock closed, which will tell the app that you are done using the bike for now.

At the moment, there is still a promotion going on that lets you use the bikes 10 times for free before cutting into your deposit. If you have used up the deposit, you can very simply recharge your account by going to 我的钱包 (my wallet), in the second line, with the little wallet icon.My Wallet_2To charge, you click onto 去充值 (charge). It will give you several options: 5RMB, 10RMB, 20RMB, 30RMB, 50RMB or 100RMB. If you charge 100RMB at one time, the app gives you 100RMB as a gift on top. So if you are frequently using the bikes, this would be a really cool deal. Underneath the different amounts, you can choose whether you prefer to pay with WeChat pay or Alipay (if you enabled both of them when setting up your account). Then you click 去充值 (charge), and you are done.IMG_8938.PNG 2017-05-08 20-37-29If – even after reading our tutorial – you still have trouble setting up your account, contact the Landing East team for help!

Like the advice? Then share this article with your friends and fellow bike enthusiasts. And don’t forget to follow us on one or more of our social media channels (Facebook, WeChat, Instagram, Twitter and our blog). And let us know what other tutorials and articles you would enjoy in the comments below!

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By Julie Marx

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