Round up my ride! Bulgarian returns Singapore's damaged rental bikes

Zhivko Girginov, a Bulgarian living in Singapore, returns damaged Obikes to their warehouse after gathering them around his neighbourhood in Singapore December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su

US-SINGAPORE-BIKECLEARING:Round up my ride! Bulgarian returns Singapore's damaged rental bikes

By Edgar Su

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A sea of yellow and orange bicycles in Singapore's public spaces shows how quickly the city-state has embraced the shared-bike culture since major operators such as Chinese firms Ofo and Mobike first rode in a year ago.

Bulgarian piano teacher Zhivko Girginov, who has lived on the island for nine years, has not been impressed by the broken bicycles he has encountered abandoned by roads and footpaths.

"My friends complained there were damaged bikes scattered everywhere and there was nothing that can be done," he said.

"But I did not agree."

The 32-year-old decided to take matters into his own hands, pulling together a team of like-minded individuals to round up and return the bikes to the warehouses of the respective companies.

Started in September, Girginov's Volunteer Bike Patrol initiative has taken off, collecting over 400 damaged bikes in about seven trips.

The group gathers the broken bicycles in one neighborhood, moving them to a central location. Girginov then rents a lorry for $150 a trip to pick up and carry the bikes back.

Girginov has funded the effort until now, but expansion might prompt him to consider crowd-funding or seek sponsors, he said.

Singapore's three main shared-bicycle operators, Ofo, Mobike and domestic firm oBike, appreciate his work.

"We're talking to Zhivko about how we can work together to build an even stronger bikesharing environment," said Sharon Meng, country manager of Mobike Singapore, adding that Mobike has given Girginov an unlimited usage pass to help him retrieve its bikes.

Singapore has sought to discourage indiscriminate bicycle parking in public spaces. In 2017, the Land Transport Authority marked out 4,000 additional yellow bike parking areas around public housing estates, bus stops and train stations.

The initiative is one of many similar projects Giriginov has embarked on, and he considers the time and money well-spent.

In his opinion, such "social experiments" provoke people to consider how they can make an individual contribution to society.

"Some of my friends tell me my efforts are futile," he said, after devoting New Year's Day to a bike retrieval expedition.

"But I believe we are part of a community and we should do what we can."

(Writing by Dewey Sim; Editing by Karishma Singh and Clarence Fernandez)

Related News

Malaysia wins 145 golds to become SEA Games champions

Aug 31, 2017

Host Malaysia has won 145 gold medals at the Southeast Asian Games to emerge as overall champions for the first time in 16 years, making it a double celebration in conjunction with its 60th anniversary of its independence from British rule

The Latest: Official says school applied for safety approval

Sep 14, 2017

A fire department official says the initial investigation into a fatal dormitory fire in Malaysia showed the school had just applied for building safety approval

Malaysia fire blocks lone exit to Islamic dormitory; 23 dead

Sep 14, 2017

A fire that blocked the only exit to an Islamic school dormitory has killed 23 people who were trapped behind barred windows on the outskirts of Malaysia's largest city

Stomp The City brings to you the latest trending news in Malaysia. Along with our daily active audiences and the efficient editorial team here in Stomp The City, we’re able to make things go viral in almost no time. Together, we are stronger.

Contact us: sales@stompthecity.com