June 5, 2009

Boulder to implement bike-share program?

From the “wow, what a dumb idea” department: the city of Boulder is applying for grant money to run a $1 million bikeshare scheme.

So why would I say this is stupid? Well, it’s pretty simple, really.

If we assume that a halfway decent town bike costs, say, $250 (that’s assuming you buy them in bulk – and yes, you can even get a mostly American-made bike for that price), you could just buy 4000 bikes and give them to anyone who wanted one. Or buy 2000 bikes and pay someone $50k a year to run a little bike stand and help owners maintain them for the next DECADE. Even if you pay extra for really nice stuff, and spend, say $1000 per bike (and use as much domestically manufactured stuff as you can) you can still buy 1000 bikes, or 500 bikes and a lot of money for maintenance. Heck, you could even just rent the bikes for a nominal fee and charge people if they were returned damaged – there are so many better ways to do something like this.

You could even throw in some tight jeans and ironic t-shirts to keep up with the fixie trend. Though you might blow through money pretty quickly doing that. The blue aerospoke wheels are probably a necessary expense, though.

I’m pretty sure there aren’t even close to 1000 people in Boulder who both want to ride a bike and don’t have one/can’t afford one. If you have any motivation at all to ride, you probably *already have* a bike. If not, a quick trip to a bike shop, or a garage sale, or the Sports Recycler (used sporting goods place here in Boulder) is pretty easy, and it’s not that hard to end up with a decent used bike for