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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 11-05-05, 05:07 AM   #1
2am
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Berlin bike rentals

I arrived in Berlin the other day just on holiday. Walking to my friends work and all these bikers pass me by (like almost every major street in the downtown area has a bike path). After about 20min of walking, I think to myself 'man walking sux... i wish i had a bike')

Then on the next block I see this bike just sitting by itself not really locked to anything. I don't take too much notice

Then on the next block, two more.

Finally, a bit farther down the road, theres a huge cluster of them. I had my PDA with me so I lookup the website written on the side and find this:

http://www.callabike-interaktiv.de/k...=english&f=500

Not the greatest bikes, but really cool idea. Basically bikes strewn all around the city that you can pickup and start riding. Too expensive to really make sense yet, but the idea is really sound.

Love that german ingenuity.
-a
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Old 11-05-05, 07:07 AM   #2
Aeroplane
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That sounds like an awesome service. The only downsides that I see:

1. What if you are extremely tall/short? You might have to walk for a long way until you find a bike in your size.
2. What's to keep somebody from closing the lock, and just riding off with the bike? Also, I think it'd probably be worth your time to remove the lock and get a free bike. They've probably got solutions for this problem, but I'd be interested to hear what they are.
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Old 11-05-05, 07:14 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeroplane
That sounds like an awesome service. The only downsides that I see:

1. What if you are extremely tall/short? You might have to walk for a long way until you find a bike in your size.
2. What's to keep somebody from closing the lock, and just riding off with the bike? Also, I think it'd probably be worth your time to remove the lock and get a free bike. They've probably got solutions for this problem, but I'd be interested to hear what they are.
Chain is locked, too. That's why some of these bikes aren't really locked to anything. Besides, they are not allowed beyond city - Police will keep an eye on them out of bounds. Of course you can steal one if you really want, but the loss they incure must not be enough to cease the service. Amazing thing is that it still works - I was living in Berlin in 2003/2004 and the service was already in.
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Old 11-05-05, 11:54 AM   #4
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im visiting berlin in january to see a friend who has recently moved there,
what is the bike scene like? i know they have a fixie cafe type thing, looked at the website. and i know a friend of a friend who works in some sort of bike coop.
i am a qualified bike mechanic, what are the chances of finding mechanic work there?
or even messenger work if my back is better by then.
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Old 11-05-05, 12:03 PM   #5
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I've read a story about a similar system in Prauge. I can't remember the details to well, but I think that the bikes were free to use, and the program was funded by the city.

The same type of system was attempted on the west coast of the US in the past ten years, I believe it was called the Yellow Bike Project, (can't remember which city attempted it) they collected old bikes, restored them too working order, and sprayed them with yellow paint. The program was dropped due to people stealing the bikes and abandonning them outside of town.

I'll try to dig up some actual data to validate all of this hearsay.
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Old 11-05-05, 12:09 PM   #6
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Yellow Bike Project


which has evolved into...

The Create a Commuter Program
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Old 11-05-05, 12:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2am
Not the greatest bikes, but really cool idea. Basically bikes strewn all around the city that you can pickup and start riding. Too expensive to really make sense yet, but the idea is really sound.

Love that german ingenuity.
-a
A Christian students' group at the university at which I work tried that with umbrellas. People just took the umbrellas.

m.
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Old 11-05-05, 02:02 PM   #8
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These german bikes are way ahead of the yellow bike program. I never really looked that closely into it, but from what I gathered you have to call a phone number to activate the bike, which then bills your cell phone (!) for the mileage you use. The system is administeredby the rail service I believe.
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Old 11-05-05, 04:13 PM   #9
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Here's a list of community bike programs from around the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of..._bike_programs

If anyone is interested in this, let me know, and especially if you're in Champaign-Urbana take a look at this project:

https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ro/www/IlliniBicycleProject/
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