BikeShare 4 ways
The roads were a tangled mess as a deluge of rain came down, along with thunder, lightning and flooding on the streets late Wednesday afternoon, so it was the perfect time to pull over and check out the options for Bikeshare Hawaii at the Honolulu Design Center parking garage.
Bikeshare Hawaii showcased four bike systems to the public on Wednesday. It was the second open house, following another one on Sunday. An estimated 200 people showed up to both, according to Bikeshare Hawaii president Ben Trevino, where they had the opportunity to rate the bikes on look and comfort, plus vote for a favorite overall. The results will be weighed in during talks with the companies in consideration, he said. A decision is expected in October. I'm really excited about the possibilities!
Here were the four options:
>> Mibici. Manufactured and designed in Canada, the Mibici is extremely durable and well-made for an urban environment. It has a carrier in front, where you can put your purse, and secure it with a bungee cord (which works if your purse is wide or an unusual shape). It has a comfortable seat and rides like a cruiser. The terminal station is sleek, tall and solar-powered, and pretty user-friendly. Swipe your card and you're ready to go. It's in operation in Guadalajara, Mexico.
>> Nextbike. This bike system, developed by a German company, is present in more than 30 cities in Germany, as well as the U.S. and United Kingdom, and comes with plenty of options. Rentals can be made via the terminal, an app or pin number (there's a keypad on the bike). Every bike is equipped with an automated, on-board lock and GPS system. It's a comfortable ride, a little more sporty.
>> Decobike. The Decobike system, used in Miami, has been tested and proven in a market similar to Honolulu's, with its humidity, sand and salt environment. The bike features a shaft drive instead of a chain, so you won't have to worry about getting a chain caught in your pants legs. The dock station, also solar-powered, is much larger. You get a plastic, bucket basket attached to the front.
>> SoBi. The Social Bike, or SoBi from Brooklyn, New York, is a smartbike with a GPS-enabled lock that works with regular bike racks. You can find and reserve a bicycle from either a web browser of mobile device, or directly from the keypad on the bike. Once you make a reservation, you enter a 4-digit PIN to unlock the bike. SoBi is in operation in Tampa, Fla. and Phoenix, Ariz.
All four bike systems have a few things in common — the bikes weigh 40 to 50 pounds, so they're heavy, with adjustable seats for riders that are tall or short. They offer different gears, but are primarily for flat rides. They're all designed for novice riders.
Bikeshare Hawaii's first phase will roll out across urban Honolulu, with about 2,000 bikes at 200 stations from Waikiki to Chinatown in 2016. The mission is to offer a network of bikes, designed for short trips of one to four miles, as a transportation system without the hassles of storage, maintenance or parking. Also, to get more people to ride bikes!