Bixi, the Bike Taxi, in Golden Gate Park – Testing Out the Canadian Bike Rental System

The Bixi short-term bike-share roadshow blew into town today, however briefly, to show us how they do it up in Montreal.

But first things first – a quick report on what our visiting bike-sharing visitors were surprised by in GGP:

1. The summertime cold and wind;

2. The homeless dude with a guitar case who flipped out, attacked a jogger, and had to get taken down by a bunch of Park Rangers and SFPD officers;

3. Noisy raptors circling low overhead; and

4. San Francisco’s famous bicycle built for four. It almost stole the show. See?

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Program Director Andy Thornley with SF Weekly’s Matt Smith et ux, ”quad” liberi, all together on a charming, fully-functioning bicycle. Click to expand:

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So Bixi is just like the Parisian Velib program except the Bixi bikes aren’t as heavy, which is a good thing. But the Bixis are still heavy though. And if you happen to be six foot one and a ton of fun, you’ll find that the frame is strong enough but that the seatpost doesn’t go up high enough. Otherwise the whole program is as you would expect.   

The mise-en-scene today:

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In France, they incentivize people to drop the bikes off at the tops of hills. If a program like this ever gets off the ground in San Francisco, what would it take to deal with stations at the tops of our mini-mountains?

Bienvenue à Montréal!

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It’s enormous work keeping a program like this going. The little monsters of France have effectively managed to steal, vandalize, and otherwise mangle the entire original fleet – at a replacement cost of thousands of dollars each, that’s a tough row to hoe.  

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If you want to make a system like this work in San Francisco, you’d need  a subsidy from the government, the way that MUNI and BART and Golden Gate ferries get subsidies.

And where will people get the helmets they’ll need? Whoops. (In gay Paris, they take a c’est la vie approach to matters like this.)

All in all, I’d rather have a regular bike and a U-lock than a Bixi program membership. But if you can’t find a cab or you just missed your bus, you might like having the option of a short-term bike rental.

We’ll see.

 
City CarShare Cohosts Bike Sharing Demonstration.

Exploring New Trends in Green Mobility

WHAT:   A one-day opportunity for the public to ride bikes from a bike share system. Bike sharing allows people to pick up a bike from one station, travel to their destination and return the bike to any other station in a network. City CarShare will be conducting a survey among participants to get their feedback on the concept, the equipment and their level of support for bike sharing in San Francisco.
 
WHEN:   Sunday, August 2, 10 am- 3:30 pm
 
WHERE:   Golden Gate Park, (just inside the car-free Sunday road closure on JFK Drive at Conservatory Drive East)
 
WHY:   To allow the public to test-ride the bikes and learn more about this eco-friendly mode of urban transportation. Through this demonstration project, the sponsors hope to encourage awareness and increased civic conversation about Bike Sharing for San Francisco as having the potential to build a greener city while encouraging healthy living.
 
SPONSORS:   City CarShare, SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), BIXI (of Montreal)
 
COST   Free

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2 Responses to “Bixi, the Bike Taxi, in Golden Gate Park – Testing Out the Canadian Bike Rental System”

  1. Matt says:

    Jeez. We were stopped there only two minutes on our way to Church. Does SF Citizen have a citywide network of automatic spy cameras? Now there’s a story too good to check…

  2. sfcitizen says:

    Thx, lots of stuff goes on in this town all the time, that’s for sure.