Washington DC has grown a select, privileged and elite group of world-renowned cities by adding a high tech ’smart bike’ program to ease transportation around the cities inner-core. Euro-loving DC-ite’s are feeling quite smug.
The bikes, which look nothing like anything any red-blooded American would want to ride, are positioned around DC with high tech credit card system to rent them. For an annual fee of $40 you can grab a bike at any of the downtown locations and peddle around. I’m not a big fan of these bikes. Mountain bikes would be a bit more rugged, and the smaller front wheel just screams ‘flip over me’. But I guess they have their reasons.
The bicycles seem to be located primarily downtown as DC is basically on a hill. If you head past the basic outline of the original city (GWU to Florida Avenue to Union Station) you’ll find that much of the city is on a slight incline. Riding to the NW Corner of the city is actually a nice workout as it is a slow and long uphill climb (making coming back into the city an absolute joy as you coast downhill for much of the way). One suspects if they had a station in upper NW it would never have any bikes, as they’d all be coasted back into the city.
The location and availability can be checked online but is presently broken. One wonders if they’ll get an iPhone application out soon that shows what’s available where. That would be a double-smug bonus. Using your iPhone to find a smartbike. Bonus points.
Anyway, as I’m not technically living in DC and did my stint biking around the inner core when I was a bicycle messenger, I suspect I’ll pass for awhile on the annual subscription. But we’ll see how it goes. If it get a few more cars off the road I’m not going to complain.]]>