London’s Bike-share How-To

For your viewing pleasure this weekend, here’s the animation produced by Transport for London explaining how to use Barclays Cycle Hire — the 570-station bike-share system that launched about two years ago. There’s a lot to cover in a little more than four minutes: when bike-share is useful, how to get a membership, what not to do with your bike, how to handle a bike that needs repair, and so forth.

In New York, we’ve already seen some confusion about what sort of trips bike-share is meant for, and even something as simple as swiping a Metrocard has a learning curve. We could probably use a video like this before Citi Bike launches in July.

We’ll see you back here on Tuesday, Streetsblog readers. In the meantime, feel free to share your storyboard ideas for NYC bike-share how-to videos in the comments.

  • James

    Love London’s cycle hire scheme, but the problem is that if you try and use the bike for commuting, you have to be very strategic — unless you live in some odd sweet spot that is a mix of nightlife/business/residential, you will probably not be able to get a bike in the morning after 9 PM and then not be able to park your bike again at night after 9 PM. For example, most midtown docks will probably be emptied by 9 PM, while those on the edges of Brooklyn/Queens/LES will be super full. Yes, rebalancing trucks help, but they can’t keep up with the onslaught. In other words, get a key, but be prepared to take the bus/subway if you’re working late or getting up late in the morning.

  • Ben Kintisch

    James I think you mixed up some of your am pm’s.

    But anyway, I’d love to see the folks with Alta and Citibike produce a similarly cute and informative video to teach New Yorkers how the bike share is meant to work.
    Also, regarding the re-balancing issue, I believe that in certain systems they offer financial incentives for people to re-dock bikes in areas that are short on bikes. For instance, in DC, where many parts of town are up hill, there was a big imbalancing program. Eventually, to deal with this problem, the program offered modest credits for taking a bike from a place with lots of bikes to a place with very few, like up a hill.

  • Bike share is for short trips, like from the East side to the West side, where the subway does not go. The bikes are heavy, with fat tires and an upright cruiser style riding position. They are therefore slow and pokey, nice for short commutes but not a replacement for a road bike that you would use to commute from Queens to Manhattan. I commute by bike daily from Brooklyn to Manhattan and I have no intention of using bike share to ride to work. 

    It’s really a replacement for walking, taxis, and short subway rides. In DC, the most popular trip length was 4-6 minutes. In NYC, I am guessing that under 15 minutes will account for more than half of the trips. 

  • fj

    really nice.  opportunities abound for a rich diversity nyc bikeshare media.

  • Youthapproach

    Solicit car free cities in the world.

  • HamTech87

    Imbalance is not a huge problem if you have a high density of stations, which NYC will have.  When a station is full, you can find an opening at one nearby.  You still need a rebalancing system, but there are options to getting stuck with a bike.

    That said, I’m hoping that the tourists in Midtown will empty station slots on weekday mornings.  Canada, UK, Mexico and Brazil are in the top 5 sources of tourists in the US, and those countries all have well-known BikeShare programs.  So it should seem natural for these tourists to use it in NYC.  Maybe some heavy advertising in midtown hotels, and a 7:00AM-9:00AM discount for use, can draw them out early?  



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