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.
Bryan Goebel is a reporter at KQED Public Radio in San Francisco. A veteran journalist and writer, he helped launch Streetsblog SF in 2009 and served as editor for three years. He lives car-free in the Castro District.