Sunday, October 26, 2008

CHICAGO'S BICYCLES PART 2 (REENNNNTALLLZZZ)


When we were in Chi City a few weeks back, we ran into this really coool bicycle station in Millennium Park, the McDonald's Cycle Center. It's a bike station on the northern edge of the park where you can rent out bicycles for transportation about the city. It's a pretty cool concept, I think. According to their website, they provide shower facilities, bicycle parking, and repair services in addition to their rental services. This is one of those things that American cities need more of. I'm pretty sure this sort of thing is already popular in Europe; hopefully, we'll catch on here soon.
The rentals are a bit pricey, though. $54 to rent a road bike for a full day seems like too much when you could easily by a pretty baller road bike off craig's for twice that. But, here, you pay for the convenience of rental bike facilities. Because you don't own the bicycle, you dont have to worry about repairs or tune ups, you can simply ride it around and take it back to the bike center when you're done. It's pretty cool.

There's been a lot of discussion in both St. Louis and Los Angeles about the survival and expansion of public transportation systems in these respective cities, but these debates have usually been framed around the notion that public trans is synonymous with buses, trains, and trolleys when really, this is not the case. if there was one thing that I learned this summer concerning public transportation, it's that the best way to transition seamlessly from buses to trains, or trains to trolleys, etc, was via bicycle transportation. It's much faster to bike a mile or two than it is to wait 15 or 20 minutes for a bus to take you that same distance. It's a better experience both psychologically and physiologically because instead of standing or sitting around, waiting for the bus, you're out and about biking around. Not only can you get a better appreciation for the city, but you actually move about that city in an efficient manner. And it's fun.

Here's a bike map from Chicago.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

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