Smart Bikes Available on 14th and U Outside the Reeves Center

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Do you think this idea is going to catch on? Anyone out there get a membership? It seems to me like it might be easier just to get a used bike on craigslist for $100. Who do you think they are targeting to become members?

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8 Comment

  • I’m not sure DC’s streets are quite bike-friendly enough for the average person. Sure, plenty of people bike, but for this to really take off (Like in Paris, for example), we need to get some cars off the road, get some better bike lanes, and make it a little safer to ride.

    Plus I think it would help if the bikes didn’t look so dorky.

  • PoP – i hear ya. But you would think Parisians could also buy a cheap bike instead of shared bikes. But the program took off there…

  • I don’t get how this is supposed to be used in practice. Consider:

    1) Most of the rental locations are near Metros
    2) Bikes have to be returned within 3 hours
    3) If you don’t return a bike within 24 hours you pay 550 bucks.

    So, basically I’m going to

    1) have to carry around my own bike lock anyway if I plan to go somewhere other than between two points where there are stations. Since they’re all at metros anyway, what is the value here?

    2) Carry a bike helmet to comply with DC law

    3) I’m probably already on metro unless I happen to live near one of the stations

    4) All the stations are within the downtown area anyway, within a 30-45 minute walk at most from the most distant ones

    So, instead of just using metro or walking, I’m going to have to start carry around a bike lock and helmet? If you’re already doing that, why not just have your own beater bike which can be obtained for far less than the possible $550 at risk here?

  • DC law doesn’t require bike helmets for adults. Just children.

  • If they put in a Smartbike rack in front of DCUSA in Columbia Heights, I’d definitely sign up. I’d use the Smartbike daily to cruise to work downtown going downhill, and return it to one of the racks there (Gallery Place). Then, I’d take the Metro home, which is uphill and avoid the heat and thunderstorms.

  • Mr T > This would suck if you were riding downhill, and expected to park it at a specific place:

    Returning a Bike

    * Go to any bike station with an available parking spot.

  • Jamie: The way it would work is you walk to one near your apartment/ rowhouse and bike to where you’re going, and park it at the nearest kiosk near there. It is supposed to work like in Paris, where there are Velib kiosks every 2 blocks. This is just the pilot, they are planning to expand quickly (I heard up to 100 kiosks over a year).

    Just like anon mentioned, unless you’re under the age of 16, you aren’t required to wear a helmet (or spandex).

    Mr. T: I am with you 100% although I just got my smartcard in the mail (I have a bike, but I’ll use the smartbike for backup, if I’m somewhere already without my bike, etc.)

    matt91: Don’t worry too much, they will have staff running around in a van rearranging bikes (and performing any repairs) so that there is almost always empty docks (and bikes available).

  • Plus, keep in mind that these are being sponsored by Clear Channel, just like all the new bus stops around the city. That means they will actually be managed efficiently and that the new ones being installed will actually come online when they are supposed to…

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