Montreal's BIXI Bike Share are in San Jose, California today to demonstrate their system. You can find them at the VTA River Oaks parking lot near River Oaks bridge and basketball courts beginning at 2 PM on Tuesday, August 4.
VTA River Oaks’ parking lot near River Oaks bridge and basketball courts starting at 2pm on Tuesday, Aug 4. This is on North 1st just north of Montague Expressway.
(I wish I knew about this sooner -- I don't have my camera today!)
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My husband and I happened upon the Bixi demonstration in Golden Gate Park this past Sunday and were able to take the Bixi bike for a little spin. The system seemed very easy to use and the bikes were easy to operate. I can not wait to have this wonderful addition to the transportation network.
I just came back from a weekend in Montreal and the Bixi bike system was almost brillant. I live in Ottawa, and we have a pilot Bixi program, but there is not a high enough Bixi station concentration to be useful to me as a local. However, in Montreal there are a lot of stations and the first day we used the bikes it was flawless. It was so convenient to just grab a bike and go. It was often faster then driving or public transportation. The bikes feature three gears and were adequate for casual riding around the city. There were times when I was wishing for more gears since riding outside of my normal cadence felt weird but that is just me, as my girlfriend pointed out, "being a weird cyclist".
One real annoyance was seen a couple times on Monday. It seemed when we wanted a bike, we had problems finding bikes. We seemed to always be finding empty racks. Then when we made it to our destination, there were only full (and in one case broken) stations. It seemd to be our luck to be heading in the same direction as the majority but only doing it later.
This is why I said the Bixi bikes were almost brilliant. When the bikes were easy to find and leave, my girlfriend and I would keep saying how much we loved Bixi. But when things don't go perfectly, then it was very easy to be annoyed.
Overall I think it is a good system and many cities would benefit from them. However, I think it is important for whichever city implements the system to make sure they are willing to do a good initial investment. Since having a high concentration of bikes and stations is important, if the system is going to be successful.