We need this is D-Town. Decrease our carbon footprint down to nothing and, let’s face it, it’d just be plain fun!
On an earlier post on PDD a person commented that they had seen this in Norway. I too have seen this and it is an excellent idea. That being said it is an idea for an entrepreneur to be involved in, not the city.
On another note, I went to the Bcom website and you can vote for your city to be a part of this. People should go on line and vote, maybe Bcom will put bikes in for us! Wouldn't that be nice!
Minneapolis Bike Sharing
Have you ever rode your bike on the hills? It is no laughing matter and much more strenuous than you'd believe.
I can't wait for the led signs at every bus stop showing when the next one will come. Now, THAT is advancement.
They had bike sharing in Boulder. I frequently found bikes in the middle of nowhere. They were easy to spot because they were painted entirely in bright -- almost florescent -- green. I'd find them in fields, parks, the woods even.
It sort of worked for the city because they used really inexpensive bicycles. It did nothing to stop idiots from stealing owned bikes just to ride them somewhere, which was part of the agenda to have the shared project put in place. Ah, fond memories of the broken bike chain locks. I digress.
Off topic, how about bike generators (stationary cycle), like those that have been tested in some third world countries? Now that's a good idea for slowing pollution. Of course, a human cannot generate enough power to light a 100 watt candescent lamp for long, but he or she can certainly regenerate a battery stack for future use. Why use a wind trainer? Or for that matter, you can extend that to any stationary exercise device. You take all of your gyms and have them pump a battery array instead of gravity, hmmm....
I guess I don't really get the point of shared bikes for full-time residents of a city. The advantages of having my own bike (ok, I admit bikes) in my apartment, set up how I like them, and available without any credit card wizardry required far outweigh...what disadvantages? The storage space? I can envision this being useful in a large metro area where people drive or take public transit into the city center and then want bikes to scoot around downtown, but in Duluth? The downtown isn't big enough to make cycling around make sense. When I have multiple errands to run downtown, I'm biking in, locking up, and running around on shoe rubber.
I also have some (possibly curmudgeonly) doubts about the ability of the firm to maintain public bikes in a cost-effective way. Internal gear hubs with integrated drum brakes are durable by reputation but, I saw CSS's brief-lived hub-shifting share bikes get trashed with rapidity.
And yes @mevdev, I love the hills, every last one of them.
I agree with Michael's comments.
Plus, I can see everybody renting a bike at the mall, coasting to Canal Park, and then nobody ever renting the bike to go the other way.
I have my own bike, thanks.
I agree with some of the above concerns about bike sharing schemes.
Bike sharing is mostly not intended for those who already own and regularly ride a bike. These programs aim to get people riding bikes that otherwise wouldn't. Neither are the bikes built for fast, fight w/ traffic riding as veteran bikers are accustomed. The bikes are comfortable for slow Copenhagen style riding. The hope is you could ride one wearing a suit and tie for a lunch meeting across downtown, or bike to the stop for your direct bus home rather than having to transfer. A definite advantage over using your own is the ability to take one-way trips. Although in Mpls, they plan on monitoring the kiosks for the number of bikes and use a truck to distribute them more evenly, it does seem likely that in Duluth the bikes would pool at the kiosks at the bottom of the hill. I for one would not rent a bike to bike up a large hill and then leave it at the top.
Who exactly will use these bikes and for what kind of trips is an open question. With programs rolling out this summer in Denver, Minneapolis, Boston, and maybe DC, we'll have a lot of data soon about how (or if) these programs work in the US and how (or if) this could/should be adapted for Duluth.
IMO the hill is the major barrier to success of a program like this. Unless the destination is on Minnesota Ave. or Superior Street, it is unlikely that someone would rent one. IMO, just go to the Bike Cave, dump/reuse center, or rummage sale and get/fix up a bike for peanuts (probably the cost of a couple hours rental) that you can keep.
I should mention that the shared bikes in Boulder were actually free, as in free beer, and not rented. Very hippie-like. You found one, you took it without discretion if it wasn't being used. I sort of frown upon the efficiency of that idea, but apparently they didn't much care at that time.
I agree with Resol, though. What are the chances you'd ever see a bike left at Blackwoods in Proctor?
In some ways, geographically, Duluth is well suited to this kind of sharing scheme for trips within the metro area. We have six miles from Denfeld to 21 A.E. that is pretty dense with locations that might make up errand running. In this sense, being a largely linear city (no offense intended to those off in the 2nd and 3rd dimensions) makes it easy to maximize the usefulness of bikeshare stations.
I'm trying to put myself in the shoes of someone who comes to the downtown area (by car (pool?), by bus? not by bike) and is thinking about running an errand. Would I consider using a share-bike over busing, walking, or driving? Would I bike from work at SMDC to lunch in Canal Park? Maybe, but I'm not sure that Duluth's bike infrastructure is significantly advanced enough to encourage this degree of casualness.
As an admittedly macho young male biker, I'm pretty comfortable on most every street in most every traffic condition. But I know this is not the case for almost everyone who would consider using a shared bike. I know that going over 35 on the Lake Ave bridge is pretty intimidating to a lot of novice bikers, so I think this would be a signifcant barrier.
Fortunately, Duluth seems to be again picking up momentum toward improving this infrastructure-legally with city level complete streets language, and processually with bike route suggestion meetings (http://www.fitcityduluth.com/bike).
All in all, I would suggest that public effort would best be directed first toward building the infrastructure that would support the operation of bike sharing and bike commuting in general. While we may never achieve the nirvanae that are Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Mnpls, or (I dare not utter it's name) PDX, I would say we have further to go infrastructure-wise before investing in bike sharing.
Good points Michael. My biggest concern about Nice Ride Mpls, is that Mpls doesn't have the infrastructure downtown (separated bike lanes, etc.) to accommodate novice bikers and out-of-towners from leisurely pedaling the streets on weekdays.
It is a chicken & egg issue for sure. Either bike-sharing will demonstrate the need and demand for more bike accommodations OR it will be dangerous and infuriate motorists who are just finally learning to deal with experienced bikers on the street.
I have this image in my head I can't quite shake of a scenario akin to setting those annoying four-person bikes (that they rent in Canal Park) loose all over DT Mpls streets in rush hour.
So maybe when it comes to bike sharing, Duluth's generally calmer traffic (and paths like the Lakewalk) are a bigger advantage than the disadvantage of not yet having many on-street bike lanes.
MPLS is indeed continuing in making its DT roadways accessible FOR ALL. First Ave now has a dedicated bike lane with plans in place for other roadways in the near future. (A couple articles below if it interests you)
It will be interesting to see how Nice Ride Mpls works in practice.
En route to better biking
Hennepin and 1st avenue conversions lead to innovative changes for Downtown cyclists
I agree with the comment about all the bike pooling at the bottom of the hill. What duluth really needs to become is a way to get people+bikes back to the top of the hill. Some sort of chairlift or 'trampe' or cannon
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