Riding a bike is one of the most beautiful, environmentally friendly, and traffic-free ways to get around Hangzhou. Fortunately, the city has an advanced public bike system that allows you to rent and return a bike in just about anywhere. This guide will show you how to rent a bike, which requires a public transit card.


Step 1: Getting a Public Transit Card (杭州通卡)


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Buying a Card – The easiest way to get started is to buy the green Hangzhou “Tong Ka” (杭州通卡). This card is available for only 20 RMB and can also be charged at any citizen card service center, many subway stations, large bus stations, main Agricultural Bank of China and ICBC bank locations, and convenience stores such as Shi Zu, C-Store, Family Mart, and Youeasy  (十足/喜士多/全家/祐驿站). If you can read some basic Chinese, this link has a great map of all the locations you can buy/charge the card at.

convenience-stores-charge-public-transport-card

Important: When you buy the card, you do not need to bring ID, which is easy, but also makes it so there’s no way to get your money back if you lose the card. Be careful and keep it protected in a good place such as your wallet, purse, etc. You may be able to scan it through those without needing to take it out each time.

About the Card – With the Hangzhou Tong Ka, you can not only rent a public bicycle, but you can also use it to pay for the bus, subway, some taxis, water bus, and groceries at the above-mentioned convenience stores. When you use it for public transport, you also receive a 9% discount, so save your coins for something else!

If you would like to rent a bike, make sure you have at least 200 RMB charged. 300 RMB is a good amount to start with, just in case you need to take the bus as well.

Replacing / Refunding Your Card – Although you do not leave your name or ID number when you buy the card, there are ways to replace it (if it is broken), or to refund it. If you would like to do either, you must go to the Citizen Card Service Center at 25 Ding’An Rd (map w/ directions) 定安路25号 and bring your passport or ID.

Ok, you’ve got your public transit card, and now it’s on to the easy part: renting a bike.

 


Step 2: Renting & Returning a Public Bike


hangzhou-public-bike-rental-station

Did you know Hangzhou has over 84,000 public bikes and 3,300 rental locations? That means there’s a good chance of finding a bike to rent nearly anywhere in the city.

Once you’ve found a rental location, all you need to do is place your Tong Ka on the card reader and wait until the lock is released. Then simply take the bike out and ride off.

Returning a bike sometimes requires technique. To return a bike, push the bike into the lock and swipe your card again. If it locks correctly, the blinking green light will turn solid. If you’ve done it wrong, it will beep and turn red, forcing you to remove the bike and try again.

Here’s a map of rental stations (Baidu)

Rental Prices: Renting a bike is really cheap. If you return the bike to a station within one hour, it’s free. Here’s a quick price list:

Duration (hours) Price
<1 Free
1-2 1 RMB
2-3 2 RMB
3+ 3 RMB / hr, round up to nearest hour

 

Returning bikes at night: Rental stations are open from 6am to 10pm. If you need to return a bike later than that, you must find a 24 hour rental kiosk. Here’s a link to a list of 24 hour rental stations (in Chinese).

Note: If your bike gets stolen, go to the nearest manned service center immediately.

And that’s it. You are now able to rent a bike and enjoy the amazing scenery of Hangzhou with the wind in your hair. Ride safely!

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