18 August 2010

Bike share/rent/vending successful after all?

Chicago Sun-Times: Bike rentals take off in city

Well, being a snob, I still have to complain.

"There has been 'significant traffic' between the Museum Campus and Navy Pier."
Well, duh. The one part of the whole city that absolutely does not need significantly more bike traffic is getting significantly more bike traffic.

"[Bike and Roll Chicago owner Josh Squire is] also discussing options with the CTA and Metra that could bolster cycling to work as a fair-weather option for commuters."
Hasn't the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation been doing that for decades already? Come on, this isn't news. Oh, right---the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation doesn't exist anymore. So now the most exposure that most people will get to "Chicago Bicycle [Anything]" will be this guy's rental empire---and naturally they're going to start turning to him as the City Bike Person. "I want to bike to work. Can you make it easier to take Metra and then ride a bike?" "Sure, I'll get right on it." Their other option is to reach out to mob-rule Chicago Critical Mass, which inspires "safety" minded riders to ride out in front of a CTA bus. Meanwhile, something called the Active Transportation Alliance is nagging drivers to slow down and praising red light cameras.*

One final thought: The rental season is 7 months long. Memberships are $35, $45, and $55 for 30, 60, or 90 days, respectively. That's $145 per season. Do this for 2 or 3 seasons, and you may as well bought your own bike that you could have kept anywhere and ridden even on mild days in winter. In fact, you probably should just buy your own bike, since that's hella expensive compared to bike sharing programs in other cities.

*Yes, I still think we threw away most of our political and social influence when "Chicago" and "Bicycle" were stripped from the name, and the practical implications of the new vision/mission seem to have wandered somewhat. Maybe I should start my own bike advocacy organization. With blackjack! And hookers! [/Bender] Or maybe it really is time now for there not to be a special bike advocacy organization anymore, since bicycling is supposed to be so "normal" now anyway. But then again, that kind of thinking results in people not getting their kids vaccinated against deadly diseases that "normal" people don't get. And that's how babies die of pertussis. And then I have to read about it all night.


At 19 August, 2010 08:51, Blogger reub2000 said...

Members still have to pay fees to rent bikes. I think it's free for the first hour and then $2.50 for each hour after that. As I said last time, what a rip. You're much better off buying your own bike.

At 19 August, 2010 09:56, Blogger Jennifer said...

What?! I was under the impression that a membership was a, you know, membership. Who the heck is getting ripped off renting these things that they're so popular?

Still haven't seen any B-Cycles for myself, but I only come out at night.

At 20 August, 2010 17:55, Blogger reub2000 said...


Well you can take as many 1 hour bike rides as you want. So you can travel from one inconveniently located bike station to another inconveniently located bike station. What a deal!

At 20 August, 2010 18:27, Blogger Jennifer said...

$40 worth of "quick rides"? Why not just rent? In fact, it's cheaper to rent. Ow, the more I read about it, the more my eyes hurt. I think this is why I was trying to keep myself willfully ignorant about the whole thing.

This is where someone says, "Well, as long as the publicity is good and it's getting more people on bikes..." But scamming more people on bikes still seems wrong, especially if the think they're getting a better deal than with renting. Maybe they are if they're just riding from the Field to the Pier and back.


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