Cycling in Sydney Australia
Here's what I thought of my first experience of the Bike Share scheme.
I completed the registration process on the app, and that was that, it popped up with a message and I am ready to ride
So, I was mistaken in my earlier posts that you have to wait for confirmation in writing and that they need photo ID before you are allowed to rent a bike.
The promo they are running at the moment for $100 of free credits comes in the form of 25 x $4.00 credits, or 1 hour. So as long as the trip is less than 1 hour it’s 25 free trips.
I could see that there were some bikes round the corner, so wandered over for a look. Having picked my steed it’s a simple case of tapping unlock on the app and the photo QR box pops up. Hover over the QR code on the handlebars on the bike and there is a mechanical thunk as the rear lock disengages. And that’s it, you’re off.
So I hoped on to the separated bike path and that’s where I encountered by first problem. Some ‘confused’ driver had decided that he didn’t want to drive on the road because the green path with bi-di arrows looked a lot more attractive.
I did have a word and pointed out that he should be on the road and not the cyclepath and he apologised. Still, not Reddy’s problem but I’ll get back to that later…
Did a few laps around china town, up and down Gouburn Street to see what the gears are like. There are three gears on a twist on the right handlebar. Getting up Goulburn, albeit slowly, didn’t require extensive effort in 1. The rest of the time I just stayed in 2 and pootled around. I didn’t feel truly comfortable/stable on the bike so never ventured in to 3 but that’s only really useful for downhill.
It’s also worth noting that the bell is also a twisty on the left handlebar. Took me a while to find it, but it’s a pretty smart design and should not get damaged/stolen which is quite clever.
After a bit of a cruise around I headed over to World Square where I found some of its siblings. After putting up the stand you simply close the rear lock manually, there is a resultant beep and then the app tells you the ride has finished. It summarised a 1.99 half hour trip, then applies one of the $4.00 discounts leaving a balance of 0.00 to pay. Simply tap pay now and it’s all done and dusted. It even gives you a screen of your GPS track for you to share using various social tools.
Overall it was a good experience. The Bike was good, but it’s less than 24 hours old, so it should be. The helmet, those skateboard types, was nice and clean and fresh, but again, this is probably its first use. But it doesn’t make you look too dorky.
I would happily use it again to get from central to circular quay, or over to darling harbour. It’s actually relatively simple, fairly good value and easy to use. Problems? Just the one really. On my usual commuter, a bit lycra’d up, you get a bit of respect from most drivers. On a bright red step-through upright bike I had plenty of times when Sydney traffic is turning across me, changing lanes in front, revving engines etc. I’ve got over 10 years of dealing with road dicks so it doesn’t bother me, but if I was a newbie I wouldn’t be too impressed and this was a few times in just a 20 minute ride in a 40 km/h city that mainly had 20 km/h limits due to the roadworks on George Street.
As mentioned, I’ll use it again, and whilst it’s good to see a bike share scheme in Sydney and it should be good for the public, I’m not sure Sydney drivers are ‘ready’ for a bike share scheme.
Nice report. Thanks
Thanks for your report. It inspires me to give it a go sometime soon.
Good write up - thanks. Couple of queestions
The helmets were originally placed in the baskets in front but I believe a few started to go missing so they moved them to the lock.
The lock is like those amsterdam bike locks that go through the rear wheel. When I collected my bike the helmet was in the basket, but when I left it all other bikes were affixed to the lock so it's no trouble to just push the lock lever a little bit, hook the ear strap over the lock before pushing home to seat it.
Once this is done the app on the mobile beeps to indicate you have finished your ride and once you pay the balance it displays the GPS map of where you have been with distance etc. You can then use Whatsapp, facebook and other tools to 'post' the results if you fancy.
I assume night is little different. The lights are dynamo's and come on automatically as soon as you hire the bike so they are on and flashing constantly which is one less thing to worry about.
So every time you lock the bike it's the end of the ride? I was thinking about using one yesterday (put off by the signup fee tho) to ride to a shop about 1500m from the office, buy stuff and cycle back. Would be nice if the built in lock could be used for security while ducking into a shop.
Tried the scheme yesterday. Bike was nice and sturdy.
although it could be a challenge climbing up from circular quay to Macquarie street, or up to the harbour bridge.
The helmet (size M) was too small for my fat head.