Volunteers form groups to recover stolen shared bikes

Ding Xiaoxiao China Plus Published: 2017-04-21 16:36:51
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Some ofo bikes with damaged license plates in Fengtai district, Beijing. [Photo: cyol.com]

Some ofo bikes with damaged license plates in Fengtai district, Beijing. [Photo: cyol.com]

People in Beijing have come to rescue stolen ofo shared bikes by recovering their license plate numbers, as the license plates of the shared bikes are broken by people who attempt to keep the bikes as their own, reported by cyol.com on Friday.  

As the passwords for ofo bikes are unchanged, the bikes will be unlocked and used as long as the license numbers are entered on the ofo mobile app. Some people have been found to keep the bikes after breaking the numbers of the plates. 

Li Dongyu works on fixing damaged license plates of ofo bikes in Beijing. [Photo: cyol.com]

Li Dongyu works on fixing damaged license plates of ofo bikes in Beijing. [Photo: cyol.com]

A group of young people volunteered to stop the situation in Beijing. Without knowing each other previously and coming from different walks of life, they share the same hope of creating a civilized bike sharing society. 

Born in the 1990s and a Beijing local, Li Dongyu is one of the volunteers who help ofo bikes 'work again.' 

Li Dongyu works on fixing damaged license plates of ofo bikes in Beijing. [Photo: cyol.com]

Li Dongyu works on fixing damaged license plates of ofo bikes in Beijing. [Photo: cyol.com]

Li took a red marker and went out on April 19, 2017. She spotted an ofo bike with a broken plate and an unclear QR code immediately and started to 'guess' the broken number. She tried different numbers and finally succeeded in recovering the numbers. She then took out the marker and fixed the missed numbers.

Li has been fixing the plates for two months. She remembers posting a photo on Weibo on the first day, hoping the bike will be treated with kindness in the future. Over 1,000 netizens left messages and discussed the matter and hailed her as 'Miss Bike Rescuer. ' 

She continued the efforts after her first success. "When you find the bike you fixed gone the next day, you know it's been used by others again, and it gives you a sense of achievement," said Li Dongyu. From then on she has always taken a marker with her and done the fixing whenever she discovers a bike with a broken plate. 

Li Dongyu said that the volunteers like her are called 'ofo bike hunters' in Beijing. Their purpose is to rescue those ofo bikes that have been broken by users. 

Yang Zhiqiang and another volunteer work on fixing damaged ofo bikes. [Photo: China.com.cn]

Yang Zhiqiang and another volunteer work on fixing damaged ofo bikes. [Photo: China.com.cn]

Yang Zhiqiang is another volunteer. He also started the online group of 'ofo bike hunters' in Beijing. 

A WeChat group is set up by 'ofo bike hunters' to work on damaged license plates. [Photo: China.com.cn]

A WeChat group is set up by 'ofo bike hunters' to work on damaged license plates. [Photo: China.com.cn]

Xiaohuang (pseudonym) is a high school student in Beijing. He is also one of the volunteers. He not only fixes broken license plates but also cuts off private locks on the bikes. 

"When I find ofo bikes with private locks, I'll block the keyhole with glue and cut off the lock with pliers next time, so that the bikes can be used by others," said Xiaohuang. 

Tools bought by Xiaohuang for fixing damaged ofo bikes. [Photo: China.com.cn]

Tools bought by Xiaohuang for fixing damaged ofo bikes. [Photo: China.com.cn]

One of ofo's bike maintenance worker said that many bikes need to be repaired for having broken QR codes and license plates. The volunteers who work on fixing numbers, cutting off locks or posting photos online for tip-offs are really helpful and reduce the workload of maintenance workers. 

Over 2,000 volunteers reportedly work on fixing damaged ofo bikes nationwide in China.

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