I am the Guardian’s editor Helen Pidd. I was sceptical about Manchester’s new hire bikes, fearing they would all end up at the bottom of the Ship Canal.

Yet just a week after Chinese firm Mobike plonked 1,000 bikes on the streets of Manchester and Salford, I’m already a convert. Mobikes are significantly better than London’s hire bikes, or any I’ve tried in other cities across the world. Here’s why:

1. You can leave them anywhere.

There are no docking stations, so you can just park your Mobike at your destination. You can leave them anywhere within the boundaries of Manchester and Salford, as long as you park them somewhere public that doesn’t obstruct the road or pavement.

2. They’re cheap.

At 50p per half hour, the pricing is low enough that you feel it’s worth a quick spin, even just a five-minute ride that would have taken 20 to walk.

3. They’re fun to ride.

The single gear is pretty low, so you’ll be pedalling like billy-o if you’re in a rush. And the airless tyres do make for a slightly bone-shaking ride, especially on cobbles. But they’re much nippier than the London bikes, and lighter too.

4. The system rewards good behaviour.

Built into Mobike’s operation is a points system which rewards chivalry and punishes selfishness and anti social behaviour. All users start with 100 credits. If you end up on zero you are barred from using the bikes. If you dob someone in for parking “wrongly”, you get an extra credit.

5. They aren’t a massive drain on public funds.

The London scheme has cost £60m of public money since it launched in 2010. Mobike costs Manchester and Salford city councils diddly squat. They hope the bikes will save them money, because Mobike has promised to share with them data showing where the bikes are most commonly ridden, which should help them plan future cycle infrastructure.