An Arizona Hick Tries Capital Bikeshare (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1

So I made it to my destination on a Capital Bikeshare bike, and made my first rookie mistake — not docking the bike at my destination — because the clock won’t stop until you dock.

Catchy, huh?

When I figured out that the nearest bikeshare station was practically in sight, I docked the bike and had lunch at the Chipotle right across from the station — promptly gaining two pounds that I would have to carry uphill on my return.

When I went back to the station, there were two bikes to choose from: the bike I’d been riding earlier, and another one. Let’s mix it up, I thought.

It was then that I noticed this nice detail: The seat posts have these handy height marks. If you can remember the height that fits you best, you can quickly adjust any bike to your size.

Capital Bikeshare Seat Post Height Marks

Once I was on the bike and heading north, I noticed that the safety-tip graphic on top of the handlebar stem was different. My previous graphic said, “NEVER RIDE AGAINST TRAFFIC,” and this one said, “DO NOT DODGE BETWEEN PARKED CARS.”

I like the idea of simplified safety tips that Bikeshare users can digest one at a time. Well done. I collected eight photos of these safety tips. I believe there are at least ten of these tips, because the eight I collected are among the ten that all appear on this District of Columbia Bicycle Map.

[Update 6/29/2012: I completed my collection two more photos added to the bottom.]

Beware of Parked Car Doors Follow All Traffic Laws
Never Ride Against Traffic Ride In Single File
Be Alert Wear a Helmet
Ride On Sidewalks Only When Necessary Do Not Dodge Between Parked Cars
Use Hand Signals Be Careful at Intersections

I’ve heard at least one complaint that Capital Bikeshare users are clueless noobs who cycle erratically. If these ten tips can penetrate their brains, then bikeshare users ought to become the best cyclists in DC.

I certainly have seen plenty of “experienced” cyclists over the past few days, on non-Bikeshare bikes, riding on the sidewalk, salmoning, and generally cycling as though they could use some of these tips.

DC Sidewalk Salmoner
For example…

A Costly Bikeshare Navigation Mistake

I got a little lost on the way back. I missed my turn and had to double back. When I docked the bike at the grocery store, I’d been gone 32 minutes — two minutes past the cut off. That cost me another two dollars.

I went shopping at the grocery store, keeping in mind the smallish size of the front racks on the Bikeshare bikes. I loaded the rack while it was still docked, using that extra stability. The bike front racks have a built-in bungee cord that cannot be detached, and an array of tie-down points. The reusable shopping bag was sturdy enough to retain the load — more than paper or plastic. (Does the grocery store give away those green bags? If not, I think I shoplifted when I used the self-checkout.)

Capital Bikeshare
Exhibit A

This was my third trip of the day with Capital Bikeshare. It would be a short one; less than a mile. I didn’t go over the 30-minute limit. I’m getting better at this.

I started thinking of the next phases in the evolution of Capital Bikeshare: cargo bikes, bike cargo trailers, and other accessories to help people do even more with Bikeshare Bikes. Maybe even (shudder) electric bikes?

Or maybe instead next phase will be lowering the threshold for the size of a city that is big enough for a bikeshare program. Maybe one day my hick town — population 65,000 — could have a bikeshare system. I know I’d use it.

Would you?

Gol Dang! I wrote a Part 3…

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