Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Gravity is Your Friend

The Times of London ran an article on the Parisian rental bike scheme entitled Parisians show their va va voom as city rolls out 'freedom' bike scheme. You know, smashing success, 1.3 million rentals of the 10,000 bikes in three weeks, traffic calming, blah blah blah. I liked the way people are using them:
In Paris there have been few teething troubles with the high-tech system that supplies the bikes for up to €1 per half-hour — but one is a result of residents using them to glide downhill to work and then taking public transport home, resulting in gluts of bikes at some low-level stands and shortages at higher altitude stations, such as Montmartre.
The end of the article outlines some other tries that have gone by, the last one in particular which relates to my prior entry:
  • Copenhagen Prototype scheme, with advertising sponsorship – bicycles have tyres that do not puncture

  • Lyon 1,500 bicycles available for 15,000 users. Costs 30p for 30 minutes

  • Germany Some glitches with GPS system

  • St Andrews Bikes were stolen in the Scottish university town in an early pilot scheme

  • Cambridge When a pilot scheme started in the 1960s, the fleet slowly vanished. When it was resurrected in 1993, all 300 bicycles were stolen on the first day

This morning I was down getting coffee and talked to Linda, who lives down by Saint Anthony Falls in Minneapolis, not too far from the now-famous ex-bridge. On Thursday, the day after the bridge collapse, her fiance rode over to take a look. Governor Pawlenty was there, some Senators, camera crews. There's a camera crew here, she says, the Governor's here, and right behind him is my fiance. Cops are all over the place, of course. He laid his bike down on a grassy knoll to watch for a minute as statements were made on camera, then turned around, and his bike was gone. He went to the grassy knoll and asked a cop about it. Yep, she said, some guy rode off on it (pointing) but I couldn't leave my position. Sheesh.

Downhills and thievery bring up my Bait Bike idea. Get a bike you don't care about a lot, ride it to a place where it's likely to get pinched, do an indifferent job locking it up, (this is the crucial bit) unhook the brake cables, and leave. Ideally, this location is at the top of a long downhill slope ending in a busy street. Think of the fun. It would make good YouTube footage!

4 comments:

SueJ said...

Here's a little theft deterrent:

http://films.thelot.com/films/2316

... utterly worth waiting through his intro.

bother yam said...

Re: Bait Bike

Just drummin' up a little insurance biz? Nasty idea. Fun, but nasty...

Pete said...

You're evil. My kind of evil, but evil none the less. ;-)

rigtenzin said...

I have similar fantasies about punishing bike thieves. I know I'm not alone.