Category: Bike Share

Happy Belated Saint Valentine’s Day, Bike Commuters! After a successful start, a short-lived love affair, and a predictable break-up with the Mejor en Bici bike share program, Mir.I.Am searches for new bike love with a tour of Argentina’s Capital City through Biking Buenos Aires.

Someecards Breakup

Dear Mejor en Bici…

Sometimes commuting around the city on a free yellow bike just isn’t enough. I know, I know, did I just say that life as a Bike Commuter falls short of the fulfilling my two-wheeled bikey dreams?! Talk about first-world-problems. Wait, wait, cycle people – before you bring me to the masses and start sharpening your guillotines, let me clarify my heretic claims: as lovely as I wish the Mejor en Bici system would be, our relationship has been disappointing, stale, and uneventful. Let me make a list (list lust, yessss, lists!) of why I think the free Buenos Aires bike share and I just didn’t click.

  1. It’s not you, it’s me: Mejor en Bici, you’re free, so I have no complaints about the extent of your network.  Twenty-something stations is a good sized network. But it’s just not big enough for me. I’m just not right for you – I live in Palermo at Plaza Italia, and you have no drop off stations within 20 blocks of my internship in Villa Crespo. I might as well take the (blech) bus (barf).
  2. You never like to go out anymore: Mejor en Bici, what happened to that spark, that flare, the chemistry we shared the first time I straddled your public saddle, and you cured me of my Bikeless Butt Envy? Let’s be honest, you close at 8pm, so we never go out past sunset time. I’m looking for bike access beyond the Argentine equivalent of 9-5.
  3. I’ve met someone else: Mejor en Bici, since you’re closed on Sundays and government holidays, I’ve started looking for other ways to get my bike on. I just have so much fun on those cruiser tours from Biking Buenos Aires, that I don’t think you and I will be seeing much of each other anymore. Can we still be facebook friends?
tiny bike mercadolibre

I knew it was getting bad when I was started stalking bikes online at night.

Although it’s not a permanent solution to the recurring Bikeless Butt Envy – Biking Buenos Aires was just the kind of pick-me-up I needed this Valentine’s season.  My boyfriend, photographer friend, and I set off on a “Heart of the City” tour for 4-5 hours on one of our days off.  We enjoyed a sunny day, with easy to no traffic routes, and mostly protected bike lanes on our cruisers snapping shots of cityscapes in Buenos Aires.  Here’s a description of the tour we took from their website:

Heart of the City Tour (South City)
$60 USD per person
Available: Tue, Thur, Sat @ 9am & 3pm
Difficulty: Easy / Medium – 12mi or 19.3km
Languages: English & Spanish
~5 hours
Discover the birthplace of Argentina standing beside the oldest national monument found directly in the center of May Plaza (Plaza de Mayo).  The center stage for any demonstration, it’s no wonder why most historical events happened right here in this very spot.  Along the way we visit colorful La Boca, historical San Telmo and rich Puerto Madero.  Bondiola (pork) sandwich and yerba mate are included! Group tours leave every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 9am & 3pm.


This could be the start of a budding new romance… until the Mejor en Bici program gets their shiz together, looks like I’ll have to find alternative routes for overcoming my Bikeless Butt Envy. And, it’s not like I’m comparing the two, but let’s make another list of why Biking Buenos Aires rocks my bike socks:
  1. You treat your turistas right: Biking Buenos Aires, what a better way to discover a new city than by bike? Like slow jams on a Saturday night, you keep the pace perfect for everyone in the group. With three guides, one in front, one in back, and one in the middle, you took care of us at every turn like a true caballero.
  2. I can be myself around you: Biking Buenos Aires, I was comfortable on your sparkly blue old-school cruisers, with a sweet helmet, water bottle, and front basket… with the saddle adjusted just right – I’m not gonna lie, I wanted to take you home with me and lock you to my balcony. A perfect balance, you let me wander off and explore with my camera whenever I wanted, and reigned me back in when it was time to roll.
  3. You’ve got a great personality: Biking Buenos Aies, you’re funny, you’re friendly, and you’re smart – your guides kick butt with local history tips. With a warm welcome, we all enjoyed the genuine conversation and the buena onda along the ride. It’s not just about looks, it’s the inner beauty that counts – and you’ve got it!
Here are a couple of pics to share from the tour that won me over.


Graffiti san telmo

La boca

Biking buenos aires mir

Biking la boca




Rest assured, dear readers, it’s not just a Bike Share rebound, I’ll be back for more birthday bike tours this week! Biking Buenos Aires is highly recommended for anyone looking to catch the sites and get some fresh air. Don’t worry if you forget the sunscreen, water, cookies, mate, or patch kit, because the Biking BA guides will have it all.  Catch you later, cycle gators!

Okay everyone, luckily boyfriend and I were able to sign up for the Mejor en Bici FREE bike share program all in a matter of 24 hours right here in our neighborhood in Buenos Aires!  What does that mean?  Finally my whiny bikeless butt can get some bike share action.

butt note

Overall Impressions of the Mejor en Bici Bike Share:

  • The price is right for $Free.99
  • Service can be hit or miss
  • Good quality helmets
  • Free map of the bike routes in the city is SUPER useful
  • I wish there were more stations, since the limit is one hour at a time
  • Bikes with baskets – I love it (what can I say, easy to please)
  • Open hours are Monday-Friday, 8am -8pm; Saturdays, 10am- 3pm; and closed Sundays

And a tip to share before I get into the details… If you are riding around with a bag or purse, loop the straps around your handles before placing it in your front basket to avoid purse-snatching at stops.  A tip I learned from my friend in Paris.

purse tip photo

Success: How to Sign Up for Mejor en Bici

After reading this extremely useful article on Mejor en Bici from Wander Argentina, signing up was surprisingly simple.  First, we went to the Police station nearest our house (open 24 hours) and, as we are not Argentines, we needed to get a Domicile Certificate.  We paid the 10 Argentine pesos, and waited as the officer copied down our passport information and our address.  The next day at 8am, the mail man slipped the completed form under our apartment door, with signature and stamp of approval.  We took the form, and made photocopies of it and our passports and made our way to the Mejor en Bici station at Plaza Italia.

mejor en b

Here is where we had a bit of a communication breakdown – the girl working the desk sent us to another station only 4 blocks away where the clerks spoke fluent English.  Apparently our Castellano was so terrible, that the first girl didn’t have the patience to fill out the forms and take our pictures.  Anyway, we had a fantastic experience in English, turned in our certificate and photocopies, and got a great little orientation session on the program.  Now, anytime we want to check out bikes for FREE, we can show up to any Mejor en Bici station, ask for a bike and helmet, and give our passport and pin # we and we’re good for up to an hour.  The bikes can be “recharged” at other stations in the city if you need more than an hour.  You can even check online for availability of bikes per station – it’s live.

So, I took it one of the clunky yellow cruisers for a ride to a meeting in another neighborhood and dropped it off at the nearest station.  The seat was a little low, and the quick release was rusted in place, so there was a lot of standing on this ride.  After I dropped off the bike, I gave them my number, then I walked another 15 minutes to the office.  Good thing I didn’t decide to keep the bike with me at the office, since the meeting went on FOREVER!  I would have received a penalty on my account for going over the hour allotted, and wouldn’t be able to use the free bike for a week.

Bike Mural Buenos Aires

Sweet bike mural en route… courtesy of whiskeyandtears.

Thus ends my short spell of Bikeless Butt Envy… Hopefully I’ll keep my butt happy by smashing it into these yellow city bicis on the regular.  If you have any bike share tips or stories for the world, post em in the comments box, below.  Bicibrazos, Bike Commuters!

For those of you interested in helping to build a great bike share program in Chicago:

First public meetings are next Monday and Tuesday OR chime in online.


Chicagoans Can Suggest Bike Share Station Locations on New Website

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) today announced five public meetings to introduce Chicago residents and businesses to the city’s new bike share program, and has launched a website for Chicagoans to suggest locations for bike share stations.

“Bike share will introduce a new way to get around Chicago. It’s fast, convenient, and affordable,” said CDOT Commissioner, Gabe Klein. “We look forward to feedback from the public and generating excitement for this new way of getting around Chicago.”

At the meetings in late October and early November, representatives from CDOT and Alta, the bicycle provider and operator, will discuss the new program and answer questions. Attendees can suggest locations to install bike stations in the proposed service area.

Chicagoans can also use a new website — — to suggest locations for bike stations and receive additional information on the program.

Chicago’s initial bike share service area will span from 41st Street to Montrose Avenue, and from the lakefront to Damen Avenue. The meetings will be held in the North, South and Central regions of the service area. They are free and open to everyone, with no RSVP required. All meeting locations are accessible by CTA.

Chicago Bike Share Meetings:

Monday, October 29
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Chicago Architecture Foundation
224 S. Michigan Avenue

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Pop-up meeting at Union Station

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Chicago Architecture Foundation
224 S. Michigan Avenue

Tuesday, October 30
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Lincoln Belmont Public Library
1659 W. Melrose Street

Wednesday, November 7
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Charles Hayes Center
4859 S. Wabash Avenue

Chicago’s bike share system will provide a convenient, easy-to-use transit option available 24/7. It is envisioned for point-to-point short trips, or as alternative option for a multi-mode commute. Users will pick up a bike from a self-service docking station and return it to the station nearest their destination.

The specially designed bikes will be comfortable for all users. Features include a one-size fits all design, upright handlebars, wide seats, hand brakes, and a chain guard to protect clothing.

Membership and user fees will be affordable for Chicagoans and visitors alike. Users will be able to purchase yearly memberships or daily passes. Members will sign up via a website, while one-time cyclists will use a credit card at the automated kiosk.

The solar-powered docking stations will be placed approximately a quarter-mile apart and located in high-density areas, including near transit stations. CDOT will work with the operator and the public to determine station locations. Stations are modular and mobile; they can be expanded in reaction to demand, or moved based on need or construction. Initial funding for the program is from federal grants for projects that reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.

People are encouraged to visit to learn more about the program, and follow CDOT on Twitter (@ChicagoDOT) and

Ever go on a business trip, or a vacation, and wish you had a bike? Don’t want to deal with a bike shop in an unfamiliar city but still want to get your ride on? Spinlister may be another avenue for you…we received this blurb about it a few days ago and wanted to share:

Hope all is well. Reaching out as I thought you’d be interested in learning about Spinlister – a marketplace that lets bike owners rent their bikes to travelers, cyclists, locals looking to explore over 400 cities in 80 countries.
We launched in NYC and San Francisco in April, recently opened up a national beta program in late-September, and were hoping that you might take us for a…spin!

How it works:
-For bike owners, it’s easy to list a bike and earn cash. After filling out a few details, and submitting photos of your sweet chariot, within 24 to 48 hours (after we check for quality, price, and accuracy), your bike will be ready for rent.

-For bike renters, you have it easy too! Simply search by location, bike size, and type to get a list of available bikes near you. From there, you can request a rental from the bike’s owner and ask questions. Once the Lister approves your request, it’s a match made in bicycle heaven.

Take a look at the rest of the details by visiting the Spinlister site. It could be a pretty cool resource for you travelers out there!

In the ongoing “Great Helmet Debate”, a recent article in the New York Times raises some interesting points. The article is mostly about helmet use in bike-share programs (like Paris’s “Velib” or Minneapolis’s “Nice Ride“), but also addresses the different mindsets between Euro- and U.S.-based bicycle advocates:

In the United States the notion that bike helmets promote health and safety by preventing head injuries is taken as pretty near God’s truth. Un-helmeted cyclists are regarded as irresponsible, like people who smoke. Cities are aggressive in helmet promotion.

But many European health experts have taken a very different view: Yes, there are studies that show that if you fall off a bicycle at a certain speed and hit your head, a helmet can reduce your risk of serious head injury. But such falls off bikes are rare — exceedingly so in mature urban cycling systems.

On the other hand, many researchers say, if you force or pressure people to wear helmets, you discourage them from riding bicycles.

Take a look at the full article by visiting the NYT page.

Personally, I am no fan of mandatory helmet laws for adults. The Libertarian-leaning among you (and others, of course) may agree that the government has no business legislating personal choices such as wearing a helmet. For children, that’s another matter altogether…I am definitely in favor of helmet laws for kids. My feeling is this: if you want to wear a helmet, cool. If you don’t, that’s cool too…but I reserve the right to privately think you’re a bit foolish for not doing so. I’m not going to get in your face about it, however — you’ve made your decision based on what you know or think and that’s fine with me.

Frankly, I don’t know enough about the helmet studies to know if helmet laws reduce cycling participation or not. I will say that the few I’ve looked at didn’t seem particularly rigorous from a scientific perspective.

I am curious to hear your thoughts on the matter — the helmet debate can get people pretty heated up, so let’s try to keep the discussion friendly, ok? Alright, let’s hear from you in the comments below.