Beginning in 2017, bike-sharing took off in China. Millions of brightly colored rental bicycles flowed the streets of the country's mega-cities.
Bike-rental: A grand idea
Bicycles would be a welcomed solution to some of the population that plagues urban areas. But citizens in those cities were not as eager to rent the bikes as the rental companies expected.
Complicating the situation further, the people who did rent the bikes didn't know what to do with their rented "wheels" once they were finished with them. Do they park them alongside a street? Abandon them on sidewalks? Stash them in alleys?
Bike-rental: A great problem
The result: bicycles quickly piled on already-crowded streets. They blocked street and pedestrian traffic.
Cities began to impound the derelict bikes -- first by the hundreds, then by the thousands. City official quickly capped the growth of this new industry and passed laws to regulate it.
But the damage was done. Vast piles of impounded, abandoned, and broken bicycles are familiar sights in many big cities. Surplus bicycles are collecting dust in vacant lots.
The bicycle bubble has burst.