Friday, July 27, 2012

The Hubway Experience

Back in October of 2011, yes I know it was a long time ago, I went on a trip to Boston for a weekend of foodie exploration. Much to my delight, I found that Boston has a Bixi-type bike sharing service called the ‘Hubway’. And even more delightful, I found a Bixi type bike stand just feet from our hotel!

Now, Ottawa’s had a Bixi pilot for about a year and I have never had the chance, or desire, to try it. I have revolving quiver of bikes in the garage, and under ass, and no inclination to pay to rent another one. That said, I am very supportive of bike sharing initiatives and really hope the Ottawa Bixi takes off. I’ve also always been a little curious about how these Bixi-type bikes ride.

This trip to Boston afforded me a great opportunity to experience the Bixi-type bike sharing system as an actual tourist. Here’s what I found:

  • Renting bikes was extremely easy, and relatively cheap at 5 dollars for 24 hours.
  • These bikes are tanks. All the components and mechanics are integrated into the frame, making stealing parts almost impossible.
  • The lighting system is fantastic. Dynamo driven, and very, very cool.
  • They have reflective tires.
  • Seats are adjustable, but theft proof.
  • Fenders give good coverage.  And a covered chain housing keeps the grime of life off your pantleg.
  • The handy-dandy basket up front is easy to use.
  • Boston is not a great city to bike in (my route had few bike lanes and required some good old fashioned aggressive riding.).
  • There is no cupholder for coffee.
So, to sum up. Good designs, good pricing, good rides, and good luck Hubway (and Ottawa’s Bixi).

- Here's a picture of my trusty Hubway whip -

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