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Old 05-08-02, 01:44 PM   #1
Oxymoron
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Free Bike Loan

I wonder how well this will work.
http://www.dailyiowan.com/cgi-bin/Li...442?todaymetro
I like the idea, but will people use it, and if they do, will they abuse it?

Clay

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Old 05-08-02, 04:02 PM   #2
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This is not new; various communities have tried "yellow bike" programs, under which you can hop on any of these bikes and leave it at your destination for someone else to ride. I do not believe the yellow bike programs were successful.
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Old 05-08-02, 06:52 PM   #3
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I like the heart of these folk. We have a yellow bike program in Decatur, GA, a college town next to atlanta.

The question about yellow bikes is, for me, based on geometry: if I use a yellow bike, it probably won't fit me. Also, where is my own bike?

ok. I'm a bastard for exposing the holes in this program. I hate myself, really.



This hurts, really...
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Old 05-09-02, 07:04 AM   #4
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The problem with such a neat program in the United States is that most Americans are too lazy and self centered to walk two steps out of their way to drop litter in a convenient trash can. They certainly are not going to walk an extra block to drop a borrowed bike off at a designated collection site. As a result bikes either

1) get left wherever the person happens to go
OR
2) get taken home

Either way, the bike supply quickly dries up.
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Old 05-09-02, 09:11 AM   #5
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I've seen the yellow bike programs before, but I think this one might be different because one would check out the bike, library book style, for two days. I would never use though, even if I needed a bike, because I never need one for only two days, and if I have to take the bus to get it, I might as well take the bus where I need to go anyways. It would be better to refurbish bikes and sell them for low cost to students I think, so they would have one to use all the time. It would be nice, though, to have somewhere where one could rent or borrow a bike so that visitors could have one for the day. That happened recently here with a group of Japanese students who wanted 10 bikes. They couldn't believe none of the bike shops would rent any to them. I guess that's standard in other places.
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Old 05-09-02, 09:40 AM   #6
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One of my local bike shops, who specialises in vintage and in used clunkers, services the student community.
Every Sept he sells a few hundred used bikes to students, and buys them back in July, then services them.
Most cost £50-100 which is well within the grasp of any student.

Bikes are so cheap, and the alternatives so expensive that schemes to make them even cheaper seem crazy. Free bikes are valued as much as they cost, and most end up discarded. Some free bike schemes make their bikes unstealable by making them really bad, with 3" wide solid tyres
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Old 05-16-02, 04:14 AM   #7
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there are yellow bike programs in various cities: Portland OR, Austin TX that i know of, but many others. They work OK, but about once every year or so they have to add more bikes b/c the others disappear (people steal them or destroy them or whatever)...

i wasn't able to get the article link, but i think if there were some accountability it could be a good program...

here in Munich there is a rent-a-bike program that was recently bought by the Deutsch Bahn. not sure financially, but it seems pretty successful. i have been meaning to try it out just to see how it works, but i see quite a few people using them. they are pretty nice utility style bikes with a rack and painted a bright color with a green flashing light if they're not rented and apparently you call a 800 phone number (almost anyone who could afford to rent a bike has a cell phone here except tourists i guess who have to use a pay phone) and then use a credit card and pay by the hour and they remotely release the lock. I think it's cheap like maybe Ä1-2/hr or so. They are parked all over the place by the train/metro stops and in the park - i see people riding them on the bike paths through the park on sunny days all the time.

The same idea for a free system seems like it would work too although there would be some additional overhead costs... maybe a security-style card-reader or phone number to "start" and unlock the bike and then the same when you 'return' it (designated stations??) and you could track liability if one goes missing...
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Old 05-16-02, 01:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Oxymoron
I've seen the yellow bike programs before, but I think this one might be different because one would check out the bike, library book style, for two days. I would never use though, even if I needed a bike, because I never need one for only two days, and if I have to take the bus to get it, I might as well take the bus where I need to go anyways.
I used this service once: I checked out a standard 3 gear bike that I could keep for 2 or 3 days. Like you say, it didnít make sense.

But like Little Big Man, I liked the heart of these folks at first. So cute, and no-one would use the three bikes that waited outside the information office of my part of Stockholm. But then I got irritated as I realized that this is what little efforts are made to encourage people to use the bike as city communication. Such an alibi.
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Old 05-16-02, 01:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by swekarl

I used this service once: I checked out a standard 3 gear bike that I could keep for 2 or 3 days. Like you say, it didnít make sense.

But like Little Big Man, I liked the heart of these folks at first. So cute, and no-one would use the three bikes that waited outside the information office of my part of Stockholm. But then I got irritated as I realized that this is what little efforts are made to encourage people to use the bike as city communication. Such an alibi.
I don't know, I think it's good for people to experiment with things like that. Looking back on it, you can say that it probably didn't do much to help get people on bikes, but now you know for sure that it doesn't work. There's nothing wrong with trying a program like that as long as you are willing to give it up if it becomes obvious that it is a failure. Which means that you need to have guidelines that detail what it means for the program to be successful, and make sure that this matches the ultimate goals of the program.

andy
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