By Jeffrey Stern
What’s one of the biggest hassles of using a bike share program? Often times finding parking or a docking station close enough to your final destination provides an extra deterrent for those looking to get out of their cars and into the bike-sharing world.
San Francisco based company, Spin, has launched a pilot program with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) nearly four months after the demise of the year long test of the docking style Pronto bike share program. Seattle’s original bike-share program cost $85 for an annual membership with unlimited 30-minute rides, which broke down to around $7 per month.
Spin offers a month-to-month commitment for $29, giving riders unlimited 30-minute rides around the city. The company says they arrived at their price point because it’s under a dollar per day, assuming the user rides everyday of the month. Which, based on Seattle’s notoriously wet winters, might not be the best deal come November.
With 500 bikes on the streets, the program is in full swing with hi-tech, bright orange bikes. Each one features a three-speed internal hub, a dynamo hub driven LED front light, an onboard GPS with cellular modem, easily adjustable seats, 26-inch, solid-foam tires, a front basket and for those unfazed by the weather, front and rear fenders.
Riders will have to bring their own helmets though as Spin won’t be providing them and it’s illegal to ride in King County without one.
How does a dockless bike work? Spin bikes are unlocked via their smartphone app (iOS and Android compatible), so there is a slight barrier to entry as roughly 77% of Americans have smartphones. Without an iPhone or credit card, these dockless bikes are unusable. Once a rider completes their ride, they park and lock the bike in a Spin authorized location in the city.
Within two days of the launch a couple weeks ago, Spin saw over 1,000 rides on their bikes.
Spin is focusing on launching the bikes in Seattle’s downtown area before pushing out into the city’s adjacent neighborhoods. Another private, Bay Area bike-share company LimeBike has also secured a contract with the city and launched LimePrime, offering 100 30-minute rides per month for approximately $30. The dockless bike-share push isn’t stopping in the Pacific Northwest; it’s reported that Spin is in talks with getting more of their bright orange, technology packed bikes on the streets of New York City in the near future.
Photos by Rocky Arroyo / PedalFest
Each year PedalFest rolls into Jack London Square in Oakland, California, to celebrate cycling, family, music and more. There are rides, demos, live music, food and even the Whiskeydrome, a 30-foot banked velodrome for stunt riding.
Check out our gallery from photographer Rocky Arroyo. Click on the magnifying glass at the bottom right to see the photos full-size.
New Jersey native Anthony Mangieri paved the way for authentic wood-fired Napoletana pizza in the U.S. more than 20 years ago, and became famous for his no-compromises style in New York City’s East Village before moving Una Pizza Napoletana to San Francisco five years ago.
In this video from Baby Blue Film, Mangieri and Soulcraft’s Sean Walling share common experiences and talk about getting on bikes as kids:Tweet Print
The San Francisco Bay Trail, which at some point in time will circle the entire San Francisco Bay, is a great place to bumble along with friends. We did just that Thanksgiving weekend, securing a group campsite at Coyote Hills Regional Park and coming in from all Directions. Robert left El Cerrito and picked up Poppy and myself in Emeryville. As we rode south we miraculously met up with nine more friends along the 35-mile ride to the campsite; enjoying the sites, the flora and fauna, as well as the flotsam and jetsam.
The Hunqapillar was loaded to the gills. The Bay Trail is pretty flat, so I overpacked with plenty of beverages, a clarinet, and a kite to fly. Plus lots of clothes since we were going for two nights and the forecast was calling for rain Saturday. Binoculars and a bird book made finishing touches. Much emphasis was placed on enjoying the day, taking our time, and stopping a lot to look at stuff.
From my fancy lugged-steel magazine-review machine to 30-year-old lugged steel to 40-year-old coaster-brake cruisers with Wald baskets, our band’s style runs the gamut. Following the reduce, re-use, recycle mantra, I’ll just say that we’re getting high value out of our equipment. Call it dirtbag style, but I call it just being conservative. That’s us. Conservative.
Synopsis? 30-50 miles Friday with many stops for birdwatching, drinks, snacks and camaraderie. Saturday spent tooling around the south bay salt flats. Feasting like it’s Thanksgiving all over again. Sunday morning under a tarp trying to finish all the food together, dancing when the rain stops, then riding off into the sunset. Dig it.
I encourage you to click on the magnifying glass for full-size imagery. And read the captions.
Bay Area Peeps! Be there November 22 at the Cow Palace for the seventh annual celebration of cycling know as the SF Bike Expo. Now a one-day event with a low $5 entry fee, there is sure to be something for everyone, from tall bikes to lowriders. We sure love this event for the way it captures the diverse Bay-Area cycling culture.
Awesome bike shops like College Cyclery and Yuba Expeditions. Gear from Abus, Two Fish, Hydrapak, DZR, E-thirteen, and Light and Motion. And of course, your own Bicycle Times and Dirt Rag magazines will have some lovely offers.
There will be a “Rail Jam” contest and a swap meet that is not to be missed. We’ll be there from 11am so please stop by!
Bike theft is a problem in all major cities, but San Francisco is making a serious effort to eliminate it with a bike theft task force, headed up by Officer Matt Friedman. His unit has planted bait bikes with GPS trackers all around the city, and not only catches bike thieves, he posts their mug shots to twitter.
This New York Times video show you how the program works, as well as some other efforts the department is doing to stop bike thefts. (Only in San Francisco would a police offer sport a Steal Your Face sticker on his sidearm.)
Have you ever had a bike stolen? Share your story in the comments.