Montreal Brings Bixi Bicycle Share Demonstration to Golden Gate Park

bixi_1.jpgPhotos by Bryan Goebel.

Were you one of the hundreds who tried out the Bixi bike share bikes from Montreal at Golden Gate Park yesterday? From what I could tell, they seemed to be a hit. The Brandenburger Foundation, based in Los Angeles, brought its solar-powered portable bike station with seven bikes to the park to give San Franciscans a little sampling of what it might be like to have a bike share program. 

"I think it’s better than any of the other (bike share) models I’ve seen today," said Bert Hill, who teaches the popular urban cycling classes at the SFBC. "It’s obviously going to have trouble on California Street, or something like that, no doubt about it, but I was just trying it on a little hill here and I was in third and not even straining."

The 30-pound Bixi bikes look a lot like an electric bike, but that’s only because of the internal breaking system. They have 3 speeds, "tires made for the urban jungle," and adjustable seats typical of most bike share bikes.

"It’s a great bike and it’s already got the MTA colors," said the MTA’s deputy director of transportation planning, Amit Ghosh, who took one of the bikes on a short spin near the entrance to the park, where City Care Share, the MTA and Brandenburger pitched two tents next to the Bixi station.  

According to the MTA, Bixi asked the agency if it could put on the demonstration in San Francisco as part of a North American tour. The MTA hasn’t made any commitments on a timeline for a bike share program or a bike share vendor, but could this event portend serious interest to get the ball rolling sooner than later?

Tell us what you thought if you rode on Sunday. More pictures below the break.

bixi_2.jpg
bixi_3.jpg
bixi_4.jpg

  • Yangmusa

    The bikes seem to be very well made. My only gripe would be that the front luggage racks/”baskets” are a little small to be truly useful, and are located so that the front light is partially obscured if you were to put something large in there.

    Other than that, it seems like a great program. I feel that the initial scale of the proposed SF program is too small to work, but let’s get something on the ground and see.

    This should of course also be paired with restrictions on car traffic. Let’s see some real barriers to through car traffic – open only to transit, bikes and peds. Let’s see market rate parking pricing. Let take away vehicle lanes and replace them with wider sidewalks and bike lanes…

  • I liked the bikes quite a bit. They seemed heavy–but coming in at 30 lbs. they’re around the weight of my own bike. They had a very stable feel to them and nice balance. The design with the low step through makes it really nice for a variety of riders.

    Although I agree with Bert’s assessment I think a 5 or even 8 speed would be ideal for SF’s wind/hill combo in some areas of the city.

  • I liked the bikes; very similar to bikes in Japan. I love the internal hub b/c you can shift while you’re not peddling! I hope it works out.

  • DaveO

    Having used the Bixi bikes in Montreal, I have to say I like them a lot. THe major problem I encountered was that the bike stations that lock the bikes into place seem to break fairly often; a lot of the were already unusable 2 months into the program.

  • ian

    those are nice, simple-looking bikes. i would definitely love having those around SF to use.

    now if only we could get more than 50 of them.

  • They are really nice, I like the slick design of them, they seem to be very solid too, capable of holding any weight..

  • I wish we would just get on with it and get a system on the streets. Sometimes you just gotta take the plunge. There would be bugs to work out, but there will be no matter how much we plan.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Bixi Bankruptcy: What Does It Mean for American Bike-Share?

|
The Montreal-based equipment supplier for several American bike-share systems, including New York’s Citi Bike and Chicago’s Divvy, filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday. It’s unclear exactly how the restructuring or sale of the company known as Bixi will play out, but the bankruptcy filing could accelerate the transition to more robust and reliable hardware and software. […]
STREETSBLOG USA

Alta Chief: Bike-Share Expansions Unlikely in 2014

|
Despite continually growing ridership, Alta Bicycle Share-operated bike-share systems across America will probably not be adding bikes or docks this year. The bankruptcy of Montreal-based Public Bike Share Company, known as Bixi, which developed and manufactured the equipment that Alta’s systems use, has disrupted the supply chain that numerous cities were pinning their expansion plans […]
STREETSBLOG USA

Can America Afford Not to Bike More?

|
Here’s what’s going on around the Network today: The Costs of Not Bike Commuting: Bike commuting is cheap. When all equipment and maintenance are taken into account, it costs as little as five cents per mile. But as Lars Barfred at Copenhagenize writes, it can cost you extra on at least one measure: time. Barfred points out that longer […]

SFMTA Report: JFK Protected Bike Lanes Have Calmed Park Traffic

|
John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park is a bit calmer since it was reconfigured for San Francisco’s first parking-protected bike lane — and a majority of people like the change, according to a preliminary report [PDF] recently released by the SF Municipal Transportation Agency. Since JFK was redesigned, average speeds are down by two […]