Lee Kuan Yew is not the only Singaporean who can have an idea

What to do about Singapore? When I lived there in the mid nineties I wondered if anyone ever had ideas of their own, that weren’t provided by government-owned media outlets. The consequence of having an original thought in Singapore, I would have said then, should be migration.

Someone who isn’t leaving, is Francis Chu of Isuda Bike Share. Most governments see enough knock-ons to their own balance sheets, to publicly fund city bike schemes. But Singapore’s government makes too much money from car tax, and shop rents around subways, to be sabotaging their own interests that way. It is left to entrepreneur Francis Chu, to look for some space in the margins.

So what sort of bike share works in a city with no public support? Apparently one with cheap mobile stations that rush about balancing supply and demand. Given conventional schemes rely on invisible armies of trailers and trucks redistributing bikes, one wonders why more cities haven’t used trailers as stations, if only to test market demand.

Frank Chu’s cheap and ready solution has caught the imagination of Singapore’s forthcoming archifest organisers, who will be calling on Isuda to keep their delegates moving between various venues. The conference theme is “Rethinking Singapore”. Winy Maas is their keynote. I would lay money down, that if any really creative solution comes out of this conference, the person who has it, will have it while riding one of Frank’s bikes.

In conjunction with bicycledesign.net, Isuda have just launched a design comp to come up with a lightweight city bike, that can be easily hoiked onto their trailers. Light, though not overly tempting to souvenir-hunting bike nuts like me, who might just try to put one into my luggage when I depart… which reminds me, does anyone have an authentic Paris Velib bike they might be willing to sell me? The one I brought back with me last time would appear to be jinxed.

Leave a Reply