My week 1 of City Cycle

I tried out the new bike share, City Cycle this week.  It faces criticisms (I’m still unsure how it works for casual users), and it doesn’t feel like you see many people on it around town.  But conceptually I think it is good city-making idea and I’m doing my bit to support it with my annual subscription.  Plus I gave away my old bike when I moved so I figured it’s a win-win option.
Ride #1
I wanted to ride home, City to Newstead.   I ended up walking about half way since I was a bit unsure which station would give me the easiest, non-hilly first ride.  I ended up picking one up near Cathedral Square with Wickham St in mind as a flat route.

You swipe your card, you add a pin, you choose the bike station number.
It took me about 3 gos trying to unlock one, before giving up and trying the one next to it.
It also took me feeling like an idiot and reading the pocket info booklet I had too
I took Wickham St, it was about 6:45pm.

I usually stick to off-road paths, so little nervous about traffic at times.  But it was fine (it was the clearway and with light traffic – would be horrible otherwise I think)
I turned right at Emporium, where there is a station to lock, but I was enjoying myself enough to take the few blocks to James St.
Here I tried a couple of tried to return/lock it, only then to give up and try the next one.
I think I have the system down now, and can feel less gumby using it the next time.

I checked my card and it told me it was a 14 minute hire.  Free within the first 30mins.
One the screen it seemed like you couldn’t hire another one right away, which for a second I thought was some annoying (yet genius) way to stop people playing the system as I had in Montreal (long rides in multiple 30min blocks), but I tried again and it seemed to work.

Patterns of Use

The following day I thought I’d ride to work.  Again wanting to avoid the hills, I walked up to Malt St, figuring it would then be an easy downhill or flat from there.  Fail.  No bikes in the morning.  I think I’ll have no choice but to brave the hills because there seems a lot more bikes available down the hill (James St south).  I feel these stations are also placed for future expected developments (near Mosaic, Waterloo sites)

The next day, I planned to walk home but had a passing thought I could ride from Riverside Centre, but again noticed no bikes there in the afternoon (though to be fair it would have been easier to get one closer by, in the morning there wasn’t any closer by ones near Malt St).

It would be really interesting to map the patterns of behaviour of this system, and where they are having to distribute bikes.  You don’t often see many people riding them, but I sense they must be.  I’m becoming more aware of bike density at certain stops, and hills and proximity to River paths is my theory of influence.

So at the end of week 1.  I only used it once!

well, it’s a start.
I can see myself using it for weekends and along the bikepaths around Teneriffe just for fun.  I’ll challenge myself to go to and from the grocery shops with it.  I see myself riding it home more than I would use it riding to work.  I have a pass now so will be interesting to see how often I can use it.


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