Wednesday, April 23, 2014


DC has a well-known bike-share system in place.  By all accounts it is wildly successful.  I know it is well used and has incredible coverage throughout the DC metro area.  I've never ridden a DC bike share bike, but I expect that I will this summer.  It is so much more elegant than diving underground to ride in a smelly, poorly-maintained rail system.

Apparently bike-shares are found world-wide. Wikipedia has a substantial page, citing numerous international examples, including Boston, China, Paris, Netherlands . . . .

There are companies that do nothing but set up bike share programs.  Republic Bikes has a contract with, among others, Google, maintaining a fleet for use at the Mountain View campus.  Gotta give them credit -- that is truly a bike only Google could love.  (Query:  does joining Google mean you discard all self respect, or is it only when you are actually on the clock?  Query 2:  does Google ever hire Goths?)

Picture pulled from Republic Bikes web page.

A program has opened in Indianapolis.  It is called "Pacers Bikeshare" and bears the Indiana Pacers' brand and logo.  The website shows no actual relationship to the basketball team, so one assumes the bikeshare program has merely licensed the intellectual property -- for what reason I have no idea.  Does basketball make you want to ride a bike?  Does riding make you want to watch basketball?

Bikeshare stand on Mass Ave. and Walnut Street, Indianapolis

I wonder if it will take.  The winter here is a tad harsh for a year-round bike share, so I assume this will be in place from March to October or so.


Unknown said...

When I moved to Logan, I had every intention of using bikeshare for getting around and commuting. After all, there's a large station a few steps from my front door, and another equally close to my office.

Unfortunately, I gave up the notion after only a couple of days. There is a real problem with stations being totally empty or completely full. If I want to commute to work on a nice day, I'd better leave by 7:30 am. And I'd also better expect to hover with my bike next to a full station for a few minutes in order to drop it off, because the one outside my building is almost always full at exactly the wrong times.

And then there are the bikes. I'm a bike snob, granted, but these things have three speeds, the highest of which crests out at "moderate jog," and seat height is the sole axis of adjustability (assuming the seatpost clamp is working that day, on that bike).

In all, I'm much happier with my decision to get a cheap singlespeed that I can use whenever I want, chain to whatever I like, and not think about for a second longer than I need to.

sam said...

I've never used a bikeshare, unless you count google (and yes, the Google reality-distortion-field is strong. You actually think you look cool on that bike).

Not being an urban dweller, I'm obviously not the target market. But were I, whereas I could definitely see replacing a couple of the cars and using car-share instead, I'm with Damon on the bike share. I'd rather ride my own cheapo fixie (or, if history is any guide, my own expensive fixie) than an ill-fitting bike that tops out at 12 mph.

I also worry about whether people who /are/ comfortable on an ill-fitting bike at 12mph are safe riding on busy city streets. Perhaps that all works better than I'm envisioning, though.