Spin away

OK I will confess that I haven’t actually tried it but I am hearing a lot of complaints from friends and neighbors about the bikes scattered around the city. It sounds like we were the first city to try the dockless system and now other cities are coming on board. The complaints I hear are that the bikes are littering the city and everyone that complains somehow believes the city of Seattle has put money into this system. People are also concerned that riders are going without helmets (which could set us up for a lawsuit or higher health care costs). It was my understanding that the city was allowing the bike shares to operate and was forgiving taxes on revenue generated. I will now try to poke around and find the real story and simplify it. This may take a few blog posts.

When I go to the city website  it sounds like this has been a pilot program scheduled to end at the end of this month (so if I’m going to try it I better get moving). When all the data is collected the city will make a recommendation to move forward.
You can view the permit requirements for the bike companies here.

There are a lot of common sense requirements that put the onus for bike parking, helmets and complaints on the bike share companies with the City of Seattle able to recoup costs of handling problems. It also requires a lot of data points be reported and reportable to the City. Here is the section on fees:

Requirement F1: Applicants shall pay $146 for an Annual Permit for the pilot bicycle share program. Noteif any stations or other structures are proposed, each site shall require additional review deposits andpermitting.
Requirement F2: Applicants shall pay SDOT’s Street Use division $209 for every hour of permit review andinspection needed. Estimated times for reviewing pilot bicycle share permits is eight hours; therefore,upon submitting an application, applicants shall pay $1,672 to Street Use. Any time not used shall bereimbursed to the applicant and any additional time shall be billed, upon permit closure.
Requirement F3: Applicants shall pay a program administrative fee of $15/bike to SDOT’s Transit &Mobility Division for the administrative time during pilot permit program.
Requirement F4: Any fees arising from the need for City crews to relocate or remove bicycles from anylocation where a bicycle is prohibited under this permit (Requirement O12) shall equal the City crews’hourly rate plus fifteen percent.

So in answer to comments about the city putting money into the system it doesn’t seem like that is the case. The city does provide public space to park these.

Nor does it seem like the city would be liable for helmet less riders.

Now let’s check out the actual bike share companies. I plan to sign up for one a week and try them out to see if I am receiving all the information I am supposed to regarding parking, reporting, location and maintenance. I am starting with Spin. I go to Spin’s website  and I see an option to ride spin for $1 per half hour or to become a member ($29 per month or $99 per year). This would entitle me to ride an unlimited amount of 30 minute or less rides. After 30 minutes I am charged the usual $1 per half hour.

Spin is a Delaware corporation based in San Fransisco. To use it you must have a mobile phone with the app loaded on it and internet connectivity. The fine print states users may be charged a refundable security deposit. There is also a section on damages.” User agrees to return the Spin Bike to Spin in the same condition in which it was rented. Until the Spin Bike is locked, the User shall be responsible for loss and damage to the bike. User will not be responsible for normal wear and tear.”
There is also a LOT of other fine print including the ability for Spin to bill you if you park the bike somewhere inappropriate. When I try to go to the referred to web page with rules I am simply sent back to the home page. Nowhere in the fine print do I see anything about the City of Seattle’s helmet laws and regulations.

In preparing to download the app I see that users of the app don’t especially like it and of course I am required to hand over control of my phone and lots of privacy settings (like most apps). It installs fairly quickly. It prompted me to scan my ride and did not guide me to set up a payment account. I assumed I would need it so I entered it even though I always hate having any financial information in yet another place. So tomorrow I will go for my first ride (if I can find a Spin bike). More next time.

How do you plan your rides?

While doing some online exploring looking for great bike rides I came across this fairly unique idea for mapping a ride.

If you don’t have time to check out the link, it describes a Perth man with some time on his hands as well as a creative thought process who mapped out a ride on Strava using a picture of a goat as a template to set way points and map his ride. He then went out and rode it. It took seven hours, 126 miles and had 5786 feet of climbing.

I will need a little more time on my hands to plot my bike route that way (as well as more training to complete that goat ride) but maybe in the near future………… For now I use my knowledge of where I am  along with Google’s maps app set on bicycling. I have also had some success with Ride with GPS.  My favorite rides are the ones where I don’t have to think too much and can just ride. Long country roads with no stop lights and light traffic fill my dreams of the ideal bike ride. I especially love bike rides someone else has planned and I just make the turns when told by the arrows on the road.

Where do you like to ride and how do you plan it?

Waist pouch solves lost key problems

Waist pouch solves lost key problems

Last year around this time I went jogging. My jogging pants had no pockets and my hoodie had open pockets. I just carry a single key and put it in my hoodie pocket. I would remember to check on it every time I moved my jacket around. I finally warmed up enough to take my jacket off and reached in my pocket to make sure the key wouldn’t fall out. Too late! It had already fallen out. I turned around and retraced my steps – 3 times! No key.

I posted on the blogs and kept searching lost and found sites. It never turned up. I grudgingly coughed up the $175 to replace the key and vowed to never let it happen again. This meant some pretty awkward arrangements like always wearing a coat with zippers (even when it was 90).
At last I looked at my remnants and discovered a fun piece of striped material which I have turned into a waist pouch. It is lightweight and not awkward like those big fanny packs I used to wear that held everything. I can put my single key in it and my phone. Which is nice because I was tired of carrying that in my hand.

I love my new pouch. Maybe I’ll take the $175 I’ll never have to spend again and get a new jogging outfit and shoes to go with it.

Lightweight waist pouch ready to go

How do you solve your awkward carrying problems?

Post Turkey Ride

On Thanksgiving we had a marvelous turkey feast at my sister in laws house. She lives in the small town of Shine on the far end of the Hood Canal Bridge.  I suggested we spend the weekend on the peninsula. The weather was marginal but miraculously we did not get rained on until we went to the rain forest!

On Friday we tried out the new section of the Olympic Discovery Trail. This portion went from a trailhead at Diamond Point Road and we rode it into the QFC in Sequim. This section was mostly trail with a couple miles on very quiet roads and a small portion on the shoulder of the 101 off ramp in Sequim. It was a delight to ride through farmland and thick forest with views of the Olympic Mountains to the south and Discovery Bay to the north.

As soon as we pulled into the lot an older dog came and sat looking at me through the window. Soon his owner followed and we learned his personal history of the area. It was a delightful conversation and the perfect introduction to the trail. Before we had even gotten on our bikes another car pulled up and began a conversation. This young man had just moved to the area and after watching the months of construction he was delighted the trail had opened. People and dogs were more open than in the city. The trail itself was fairly busy for a potentially  rainy November day in a quiet part of the state. By busy I mean we saw about 20 people riding and  a dozen or more walkers.

On this stretch you also ride past a native art gallery and a casino with a few dining options as well as a lavender farm and a state park or two. There is a long bridge over what used to be a rail trestle. It had some interesting historical information about the old train.

It felt good to get out into the country and away from traffic for this week’s ride. I also tested my new tool roll under seat bike bag made from my far out paisley upholstery remnant. It passed with flying colors.