kermit

Charlotte Bike Sharing

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Since you brought up Bearden Park....I rode my bike over to hang out with some friends at Belfast Mill last think, thinking "oh, it'll be easier if I just bike than drive."

Figured the park would have lots of bike racks. Nope. 0. Walked around for about 10 minutes trying to find a bike rack with no luck.

Had to end up locking my bike to a fence in the parking lot beside Brevard Court.

They're not easy to find but look by the hut that houses the restroom/changing room. There's a bike rack, well more like four artsy circular things cemented in the ground. Totally agree there needs to be more racks at the park.

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Had the opportunity to use the Divvy system in Chicago this past weekend.  A couple observations:

 

1.  It is a very heavily used system, especially by tourists.  It didn't hurt that the weather is nice and the city is very flat.

2.  TONS of stations make it a lot easier to use.  There was no apprehension from any of us to use the system, because we had seen bike stations all over the place while just walking around the city.  We had no doubt we could easily find a station close to our hotel or wherever else we went.

3.  Charlotte and Chicago share a relatively poor biking infrastructure.  I was actually a bit surprised by how difficult a time we had getting around downtown Chicago on bikes.  My wife and my sister especially found it difficult, mixing with fairly heavy traffic.  It also lacked some connectivity between bike lanes unless you knew the city well (which we did not).  I actually feel Charlotte does a better job with signage pointing people down the right paths, and now especially see the necessity for even better signage.

 

Hopefully Charlotte can continue to add even more bike stations and increase our bike lane infrastructure and signage.  After using another city's system, I'm actually quite impressed with our bike share system but it can def. still improve.

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^ My experience has been that Chicago bike infrastructure within the loop is kinda limited (particulalrly going east-west). However I have always been impressed by the availability of dedicated bike lanes in most inner ring neighborhoods (Pilsen, Milwaukee corridor and the Northside).

I totally agree that the availability of stations is a key factor in ridership. If you cant be sure you will find a station its tough to use bike share.

Edited by kermit

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According to an email sent from Charlotte Bcycle today, the 3 new stations will be:

 

  • Romare Bearden Park (I've heard it may be located along MLK somewhere)

 

 

Yes, it's on MLK, half-way between Mint and Church.  Appeared to be operational today.

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I just rode the bike share in Seattle recently and was kinda sad at how much better the bicycles are compared to our bikes.   The feminine baskets that stuff bounces out of on our bikes are more useful and attractive frame-and-bungee holders.  They have 7 or 9 speeds to be in a better and safer gear for hills compared to our slow-shifting 3 speeds that often leave you in a difficult or dangerously easy gear that make it easy to accidentally have your feet slide off the pedals.   I also felt like they were a bit lighter and more like riding a typical bike.    They even had helmets for rent too for added safety.  

I have ended up riding these bcycle bikes a lot because I end up going to South End often and it is a perfect blend of exercise,  speed, and convenience at no cost, and I don't have to worry about theft or having to bike home after a night out like I would with taking my own bike.  So I was jealous that the bike model chosen for our system had so many drawbacks compared to other cities' systems.  Hopefully they will eventually blend in new generation of bikes into the system eventually. 

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I just rode the bike share in Seattle recently and was kinda sad at how much better the bicycles are compared to our bikes.   The feminine baskets that stuff bounces out of on our bikes are more useful and attractive frame-and-bungee holders.  They have 7 or 9 speeds to be in a better and safer gear for hills compared to our slow-shifting 3 speeds that often leave you in a difficult or dangerously easy gear that make it easy to accidentally have your feet slide off the pedals.   I also felt like they were a bit lighter and more like riding a typical bike.    They even had helmets for rent too for added safety.  

I have ended up riding these bcycle bikes a lot because I end up going to South End often and it is a perfect blend of exercise,  speed, and convenience at no cost, and I don't have to worry about theft or having to bike home after a night out like I would with taking my own bike.  So I was jealous that the bike model chosen for our system had so many drawbacks compared to other cities' systems.  Hopefully they will eventually blend in new generation of bikes into the system eventually. 

Yeah I'm a big supporter of B Cycle in principle but as an avid mountain and road biker I can't bring myself to use a clunky 40+ lb cruiser, but fwiw they are pretty comparable to those in DC's system. Granted they have flatter land and slower avg traffic speeds there.

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Same, and I ride a lot.   I do kind of wish they did have multiple models, because sometimes I do need something like a basket, other times, I really don't enjoy the extra weight, goofiness, and femininity of a front basket on a bicycle.  

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^ +1 (on the dorkiness of our bikes). Honestly I probably would not have gotten a membership for bcycle due to how the bikes look when I was younger. I am old enough now that I don't give a crap. Based on this massive data sample (the three of us) I would guess that bike appearance alone may be impacting ridership. 

I was just in Bosie, their bike share system  contains the lock on the back of the bikes (rather than at the station). It does add some weight (but the bikes still seemed lighter than ours), but it has the virtue of allowing you to leave a bike anywhere ($2 surcharge if not at a sanctioned 'station') and gives $1 credit's if you pick up a bike that is not docked at a station (and then return it to the station). Bike locations are shown on your smartphone app a la uber. Not sure it was way better, but it was interesting.

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Nice article at the Transport Politic on the pending integration of bikeshare and transit in Los Angeles (TLDR: Los Angeles will probably allow transit pass holders (with a credit card on file) free transfers to bike share)  http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2015/08/03/in-l-a-efforts-are-afoot-to-make-bike-share-a-genuine-part-of-the-transit-network/

another study documents the significance of bike share in transit and mobility (TLDR: bike share members decrease their car use significantly everywhere. Bike share use also increases transit use in cities like Charlotte (but slightly decreases it in cities with dense transit service like DC)  http://www.citylab.com/commute/2014/07/the-most-persuasive-evidence-yet-that-bike-share-serves-as-public-transit/375142/

 

Edited by kermit

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25 minutes ago, uptownliving said:

Charlotte B Cycle is applying for a Federal TAP grant to almost double the amount of current stations to 44. New stations are anticipated to follow City investments in transportation infrastructure, such as the Cross Charlotte Trail, Lynx Blue Line Extension, and the CityLynx Gold Line. Charlotte B-Cycle will work in consultation with City staff for the location and permitting of new stations.

Amazing news! 

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35 minutes ago, uptownliving said:

Charlotte B Cycle is applying for a Federal TAP grant to almost double the amount of current stations to 44. New stations are anticipated to follow City investments in transportation infrastructure, such as the Cross Charlotte Trail, Lynx Blue Line Extension, and the CityLynx Gold Line. Charlotte B-Cycle will work in consultation with City staff for the location and permitting of new stations.

That will be really awesome.  There are so many neighborhoods and would-go areas that I can't use bcycle to get to because of their limitations.  

 

 

I really hope they order a different bicycle style with the new stations.  

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1 minute ago, dubone said:

I really hope they order a different bicycle style with the new stations.  

I've thought about that a lot. Is the cruiser style more comfortable for most people? I imagine it's more stable. I'd like to see the odd mountain bike style at some stations. I would say road bike style too, but I doubt that would be as affordable/popular (those people probably have their own)

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Inhad heard that bcycle wanted to change its service over to dockless bikes (the dock/lock/transaction mechanism is on each bike. Not sure if this transistion is part of the proposal. Its significantly cheaper to operate and offers a bit more flexibility (including returning the bike 'anywhere' but there is financial incentive to get them back to a station). I used a system like this in Boise, it wasn't bad but the structure of our current system kinda appeals to me.

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I actually called their offices this morning to ask them to please consider a model without the heavy and pointless baskets.   

It makes the steering very awkward, they look feminine, and they don't hold cargo because it bounces out.     If they had just a portion of their fleet with baskets and without, I'm sure they'd see far more people use the ones without. 

 

The bike share bikes in other cities are far more comfortable to ride. 

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More or less a generic thanks for the feedback.  

They're managed by CCCP, which has a very poor record of caring about public feedback or doing logical things. 

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43 minutes ago, dubone said:

More or less a generic thanks for the feedback.  

They're managed by CCCP, which has a very poor record of caring about public feedback or doing logical things. 

Amen to that. 

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I think the odds of getting new bikes at this point is moot. They won't be able to justify the replacement of the 200 or so existing bikes. That's unfortunate too, because they have a number of issues. In addition to being top-heavy, the front wheels also have springs on them to make them stay straight. You get used to it, but it makes it more difficult to ride for sure.The only change I really want to see is about 2 more gears on there. The bikes weigh so much that the bad gearing makes it less safe for beginners (ie: the target market) to ride with traffic because its much more difficult to get to and maintain a high enough speed. 

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Every time I'm out walking and see a Bcycle station I think "awesome, I'd love to hop on a bike and ride around." and then I remember it's $8 just to unlock the bike and then $X per hour after the first 30 minutes. So that quickly turns into "ehh, I guess not". :(

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3 minutes ago, radiosimon said:

Hoping to see these in Plaza Midwood

Me too, but there's no way they'll go where the bike infrastructure doesn't connect seamlessly to uptown. Too much liability when someone on a bcycle gets hit riding on the road, or navigating the skinny sidewalks. While the N Davidson St area will be well-connected soon, PM is still stuck until Central Ave gets retrofitted for bikes somehow up to the bridge.

Edited by SgtCampsalot

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