What is LibreBike?
Lately, a wave of yellow bikes from China has been crashing over the cities of this planet, bringing shitty steel constructions into every corner of the world. But what do these bikes do? Are they here to improve the mobility of urban populations or to track their every move? Will they be used for a long time and regularly repaired, or will they be thrown away once they start crumbling? Do we actually need privatized bike-sharing in our cities?
As reports are starting to pile up, that oBike – one of these bike-sharing startups – is shutting down (and taking millions in deposits paid by their users with them), it is important to think about a new way to use these bikes.
LibreBike is here exactly for this reason – to change the whole thinking behind bike-sharing. What if you wouldn't have to pay for the bikes? What if bikes where simply public goods, to be used by everyone? Turns out, in just five easy steps, every oBike can be made into a LibreBike – a bike for everyone!
LibreBike is an independent project by anonymous urbanists that aims to add free and open transit options to urban populations. We encourage you to start liberating bikes in your city to enable the people around you to use more sustainable and equitable means of transport.
LibreBike is inspired by the "White Bike Plan", an anarchic free transport programme initiated by the Dutch counter culture movement Provos in the 1960s. While their initiative inspired city councils around the global to initiate Public Use Bicycle systems, the core vision of free-to-use, self-regulating and free-floating bike transit replacing cars in cities has hardly been accomplished. We hope that LibreBike can be a new push in this direction to rethink urban transport.
How do I use a LibreBike?
Just start biking – no locks, no tracking, no worries!
Disclaimer: LibreBikes are meant to be shared freely with everyone and we don't support stealing any bicycles! After borrowing a LibreBike, please: do not lock, break, or put the liberated bike out of reach for other people! Just leave it safely in a public space for the next person to use it.
How do I start liberating oBikes?
Remove the solar panel
Use a screwdriver to pry it off – it takes some force!
Make a hole
Take a drill or soldering iron or anything else to poke a hole through the plastic. You should be able to feel the edges of the metal below the plastic.
Open the lock
Push a chopstick into the hole, press it gently into the upper right corner (the corner facing the metal bar) and pull up to open the lever.
Make it permanent
Put the chopstick into the hole again and break it off, so that a piece of wood gets stuck inside the lock. This way, nobody will be able to lock the bike again.
Make sure that people can see this bike has been liberated by putting stickers over the bike logos. You can download the LibreBike sticker designs here. Just print them on A4 sticker paper, put them over the bike frame and tell all your friends about LibreBike!