Bike Share

Bike share woes in the City of Light

Here’s some sobering news from Paris, home to Velib, one of the first commercial bike-share schemes and the Western world’s largest, most ambitious share program:

While North America has been buzzing with enthusiasm over the relatively recent introduction of bike-share, there’s been some sobering news recently from a city that’s had its system in place since 2007. Home to the largest bike-share program outside China, it turns out Paris has been losing its bikes to theft and vandalism. A lot of bikes.

According to figures unearthed by Le Monde last week, 9,000 bikes from Paris’ Vélib’ bike-share system were damaged or stolen last year. As of this summer, 35 bike stations across the city had been shut down for repairs or due to bike shortages, leaving gaps in availability that can’t be fixed even by the usual daily redistribution of bicycles back to outlying stations.

Read the full article and all the lurid details by visiting the Atlantic Cities page directly.

Vue du Bistrot 13

We’ve written extensively on Paris’ Velib bike share plan before…and are big fans. Here’s hoping the city can figure out how to retain bikes, stop vandalism, and keep the program running smoothly.

IRS and Bike Share

If you are an urban commuter and hope to claim your bike-share expenses as tax-exempt, you’re out of luck:

Along with other unpopular things the IRS has done recently, you can add treating bike share benefits as taxable…The IRS concluded that expenses an employee bears participating in a bike share program do not qualify for the favorable tax treatment provided for qualified transportation fringe benefits.

Read the full article by visiting the original Forbes page.

Bike share on a neighborhood scale

We’ve talked a lot about various bike share schemes around the world, from Velib to B-Cycle to CitiBike NYC. Most of these setups are huge…with dozens of stations and hundreds of bikes blanketing a city’s central business district.

But what if you want to do it on a smaller scale, without the giant corporate backing? Well, that’s possible, too…take a look at the city of Brno in the Czech Republic:

Buy a coffee, and we’ll lend you a free bike. This is the idea behind a novel kind of bike-share scheme in the Czech Republic, where group of cafes in Brno, the country’s second-largest city, have come together to offer customers free biking. Dropping in for a drink, all users need to do is put down a deposit of 300 Crown ($16) and they get a lock, a folding bike and a request to turn it in at the end of the day at any of the participating centers. Amazingly given some bike-share schemes’ growing pains, organizers have had no problems with abuse or theft since the project started last year.

Read the full article by visiting the Atlantic Cities page.

It’s very cool to see a neighborhood-oriented share system, where local businesses participate! This looks like a fairly easy scheme to set up for smaller cities who might not have the infrastructure in place (or the desire for a sprawling, complex setup) for a larger system as well. It is somewhat reminiscent of “bike libraries” here in the U.S., like this established one in Iowa City.

New Yorkers react to the upcoming bike share scheme

As you may have heard, Citi Bike is launching Memorial Day weekend in New York City with 10000 bikes and 600 stations.

Our friends at BreakThru Radio shared a link to the following video, where they try to capture the general “on the street” feel for what bike share will lend to the city. Reactions range from unbridled enthusiasm all the way to near-vehement hate of cyclists. Here, take a look for yourself:

One of the surprising reactions was about the loss of on-street motor vehicle parking, one of the common complaints when any bicycle infrastructure is proposed. In the above video, almost everyone had a vaguely “good riddance” attitude toward parking!

Any New Yorkers out there in readerdom who want to chime in? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Porteños on Bikes – a Photobarf just for you, Bike Commuters!

IMG_0461 copy
Hey hey hey, bicipeeps. Just in case there are any readers out there who commute in the lovely city of crazy mad drivers in Buenos Aires, I wanted to give a shout out to all Porteños on bikes. Every man, woman, and poodle on a bike deserves a virtual high-five for transporting themselves around BA in (what I consider) the most smiley way possible. Let’s do a word association game for my thoughts on transit in Buenos Aires:

  1. Bus: Barf
  2. Subway: Humid Armpit
  3. Taxi: Hospital
  4. Motorcycle: Hospital
  5. Horse & Carriage: Horse Crap
  6. Walking: Dog Crap
  7. Bike: BLISS.

Well, I guess that solves it for me, bike = bliss in Buenos Aires. Check out these bicipeeps around the city in my photobarf just for you!

photo (6)

Bici sticker we saw on a bike tour.

photo (7)

Bike paths along the parks on Libertador, Boyfriend and I riding the Mejor en Bici bikes.

photo (5)

The famous UN plaza and the metal flower scuplture – FINAL DESTINATION!


Bike Love from Porteño artist “Mart”


Bikes parked outside the MALBA


Right by the Recoleta Mejor en Bici Station.

photo (9)

Action basket!!! Free Yellow Bikes!


Graffitti Panda Love for Mir.I.Am

photo (10)

Translation = One Less Car, Critical Mass

photo (8)

Bicipeeps in Buenos Aires

Hope you enjoyed, Bike Commuters. FYI, an update on Mejor en Bici, they recently changed the laws so tourists can also use the bikes for free! All you have to do is show up with your original passport, a copy of your passport, and register with one of the twenty-something Mejor en Bici stations in person (make sure you find a station with wifi). If anyone is around in Buenos Aires and knows about fun bike stuff, leave me some love in the comments box. Adventures and travels abroad with much bicibrazos, Mir.