The future is now. Tomorrow is today.
Throw as many cliches as you’d like, but one thing for certain is bike share is finally here.
Yesterday was yesterday and for that time period, a whole bunch of people showed up excited to usher in this new era.
There were so many luminaries from the cycling and mobility world, that it was a virtual bike prom, but with dates provided for you.
The speeches from Mayor Eric Garcetti, Metro CEO Phil Washington, LADOT GM Seleta Reynolds and LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis were relatively short, as this has been a long time coming and everybody was eager to get on the bikes.
East Side Riders Bike Club’s John Jones was all smiles as always
For those who signed up, there were about twenty different rides heading to various kiosks for a free test drive.
As for the bikes, yes they are heavy, but not out of line for bike share. They’re easy to manuever and even with just three gears, I found them to be fine enough to move around at urban speeds.
Our group rolled down Spring Street that’s a pretty good test because the craggy conditions in the road despite the presence of a bike lane.
I felt like the bike handled the bumps well and rode way better than that $119 Walmart bike I bought while my wife was in Dallas. The only test I wish I had tried was going up Bunker Hill.
Everyone on the bikes were pretty happy and there were so many cyclists that we practically took over the road CicLAvia style.
One thing that came up among the chit chat was if people would actually use them.
That topic didn’t focus on number of stations or how useful the bike was, but the cost itself.
There are three payment options:
- $20 / month for unlimited thirty minute rides
- $40 / year for $1.75 thirty minutes rides
- $3.50 for every thirty minute ride
In some senses, it’s pricey to use if you ride infrequently. If you go the $3.50 a ride route, I’m spending $7 if I go out for lunch. almost doubling the cost of my meal. Looking in a different light, that means six trips and you could have bought the month pass.
I think the month pass will be the way to go for most as spending less than a dollar a day will be a bargain for those that use it daily.
For someone like me who brings his bike to work, it’s hard to figure out where I fit in this price structure, but maybe this system wasn’t built for me.
Bottom line, no matter what you think about the payment options, everyone is hoping that bike share thrives in downtown.
You may see Ryan Johnson all over Metro ads, but he walks the walk as well.
There is also still the problem of poor infrastructure, bad road conditions and film crews encroaching into the street without giving a damn, but as evidenced by yesterday’s ride, the more cyclists on the road, the more drivers will take notice.
For now, stations are still being added and the walk-up option won’t be live until August, but eagerness is abound.
On my way home, I rode by a couple of stations and a number of people were eyeballing and taking a seat to get a feel for these new bikes. I’m sure this will translate into many more using them.