An unfortunate tire puncture recently left Bee in a bind- how to commute for the day while it was being repaired? A quick smack on the side of the head solved the dilemma- of course, he would try out the new Bixi Bicycle service! (Well, duh!)
For those who are unaware, on May 3rd Toronto launched its own version of the successful Bixi bike rental scheme that's been in use in Montreal for a few years now, and which that city has successfully exported to the likes of London, Melbourne, and Washington. The premise is simple: replace short trips that would normally be taken by transit, taxi or car on congested city streets with bicycle jaunts. (The name is actually a mash-up of *bicycle* and *taxi*!) To encourage quick usage, and therefore ensure plentiful supplies of bikes in many locations, there is a 30 minute time limit. As of the 31st minute, you start to rack up extra charges. If your errand- running involves a two way trip you must drop off your first bike then pick up a second when you're ready to roll again. You can do this as many times as you want within the subscription period you've paid for. (24 or 72 hrs. or one month or one year).
This morning Bee strolled to the end of our block, swiped his credit card, purchased a 24 hour subscription for $5 and was on his way. Twenty minutes later he was docking the bike a block from the office. This evening he did it again in reverse, but at no additional cost. Sweet!
The bikes are, umm....sturdy! Not unattractive, they are built for comfort, not speed, and they are made to last. The ride was smooth given the fat tires. There are three gears, which left us a little frustrated at making slower progress than we're used to (not to mention a little tired from pedaling so furiously!), and it took us a few minutes to figure out how the gear shifter worked. After that we just left it in third for the rest of the trip.
We will definitely use Bixi again. It won't be an everyday thing for us, because we ride our own bikes daily under normal circumstances. But when the regular rides are in the repair shop, or if we've left them at home on a rainy day and, lo and behold, the skies clear at lunchtime, Bixi will be our go-to alternative.
How 'bout you, will you Bixi?