For the Love of Bikes

We had a thunderstorm in the city yesterday which helped break the heat a little—tomorrow is slated to be in the low 70s. If I had my druthers, I’d ride a bike to work. At a startup I used to work at, a bunch of guys on our tech team would ride their bikes to work, and when they arrived, they’d exclaim, “Who needs coffee, when you have adrenaline!?” (Brogrammers.)

But I don’t own a bike, because I’m afraid of having it get stolen, and I’m mostly afraid of being hit by a car while biking in the city because I’ve had friends who have been hit by cars while biking in the city! I do love a good bike ride in the park, or along the Hudson River, which is why I’m actually looking forward to seeing the city’s new bike share program roll out next month, and am happy to hear about the news that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering allowing subway and bus riders to use their fare cards to check out bikes.

Hopefully it won’t become a disaster like what happened with the bike share program in Paris where 80 percent of the city’s first 20,600 bikes were vandalized, damaged and thrown into the river, or stolen to be sold on the black market. Seriously, what is wrong with people?

Photo: Flickr/neotint

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12 Comments / Post A Comment

Weasley (#1,419)

Could you take your bike into the office? But, bike sharing programs are awesome. I didn’t know about the plans for one in NYC. That’s exciting! The one in Montreal is great. Although, apparently the fact that it’s a hilly city is a problem because people will ride the bikes downhill but not uphill.

@Weasley bixi forever! Whatever kind of security they’ve got in place to keep their bikes, it seems to work pretty well. https://montreal.bixi.com/

Weasley (#1,419)

@raspberry cordial

I think the security measure they use is they put a hold on your card for $200 and if you return it damaged or fail to return it they charge you that amount. Also, I heard the Bixie people designed all the parts to be custom so no one would be tempted to steal any of them since the parts wouldn’t work with other bikes. Like the wheels on Bixies are pretty bizarre.

In Minneapolis, we’ve had tremendous success with our bike-share program. Vandalism has not been an issue, scroll down to the “Have a Nice Ride” header (or read the whole thing!) http://www.bicycletimesmag.com/content/surprising-rise-minneapolis-top-bike-town

Weasley (#1,419)

@Justin Schuetz@facebook

Minnesota is really doing great things for transportation. I, unlike what I feel like are the majority of people living in the Cities, am excited about the expanded light rail.

Wow, way to go Paris. That’s terrible! I’ve never used any bike-sharing thing, but I would if they did one in Edinburgh. Only on bike paths and stuff though. The fear of riding in the streets with buses would probably give me a heart attack and kill me before the actual bus did.

When I go to London it seems like the Boris bikes are doing fairly well. At least I never see them trashed anywhere and I haven’t heard anything about mass vandalism like the Paris ones. You have to do some subscription thing though, so I’m never actually tempted to use them because it seems expensive for a one-off.

In Scotland they have a bike to work scheme where you can get so much money towards a bike and gear coming out of your pay before tax, which is really good (I think it’s something like £400-500?). I’ve considered it, but again, riding in the street=SCARY, so maybe I’ll do it just for a leisure-time bike and go to the beach a lot.

lrodrigue (#1,315)

The relatively new bike sharing program in Boston has gone really well! But also Boston is a little button cupcake city of small smiles and cobblestone joy.

Fig. 1 (#632)

I ride on the street in an oil/mining boom town – it’s actually the frustrated suburban SUV and/or minivan drivers that are the most dangerous, surprisingly. Anyways, you get used to it, and riding on the sidewalk is much more dangerous (unless you’re going walking speed, in which case, why not walk?) Generally I can plan routes that involve secondary or residential streets, which is nice for when I’m in a relaxed mood.

Currently our sprawling city means we have a large duplex (1100 sf) so we have 6 bikes in a 2 person household. I’d trade the house and all the bikes in an instant for a smaller, centrally-located apartment, a folding bike and a good subway/bus system.

probs (#296)

Capitol Bikeshare here in DC seems to be wildly successful as far as I can tell. I had a membership for a year, but I too am scared of riding bikes not on like a park or trail or similar. Some of their repair depo/warehouse type buildings are right by my office.

MuffyStJohn (#280)

@probs Yep, Capitol Bikes has been hugely successful. They released a study on the program recently and the average member had saved something like $2k+/year in transportation costs.

I think the other hidden success of successful bikeshare programs is that they increase bike ridership, which increases the visibility of cyclists, which makes them harder for drivers to ignore/marginalize, and also leads to more investment in bike infrastructure. Plus: less traffic congestion. Everybody wins!

Megano! (#124)

That does not happen to the ones in Toronto and Montreal (oh and Ottawa has them too. Ottawa = great place to bike), because they make you put a $500 deposit before you can take them out.

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