So, who regularly uses the Melbourne Bike Share?

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squeaza
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So, who regularly uses the Melbourne Bike Share?

Postby squeaza » Thu 17 Nov 2011, 8:50 pm

Since all the other discussion threads have been based around newspaper articles and *ahem* issues of headgear, I'd like to start a discussion that doesn't end up in a helmet debate!! (On a Thursday night? I'm brave, only 3.5 hours til Friday ;) )

Basically, after months of dithering, I finally got my yearly subscription to the Bike Share Scheme. Prior to getting pregnant I was commuting 2-3 days a week, but I just don't have the time/energy to do it at the moment - I always seem to be on some ridiculous tight schedule to get back and do a baby-transfer, or need to be somewhere with him and the car, so most of my commuting has been via train (and yes, for those wondering, it takes me longer to ride than to use PT - hills, and I'm not fast).

After a year of wanting to hop on the bikes but never having a helmet on me, I buckled my spare helmet to my work bag on Tuesday and set off with my blue key on my key-ring, and a piece of elastic to extend the occy strap on the front basket.

Now I've done 7 trips I think on the bikes, and am loving it! It gives me a chance to do a teeny bit of riding outside my 1-2 recreational rides a week, and contrary to any of my expectations, has cut a bit of time off my commute :shock:

I've been picking the bikes up at Richmond and riding to VCA, Swanston St, or Clarendon St South Melbourne. Cutting out the city loop or a change of trains and a tram trip means it's pretty quick.

Here's what I've found:

1. The bikes are heavy ;) (I knew that already).
2. As a reasonably fit cyclist, the Collins St Hill had me pootling in lowest gear trying not to break into a sweat, and failing :( I can see why people who don't ride much might be put off by hills......
3. 3 gears are interesting when you're used to 20-24 :D
4. The top gear doesn't allow you to whizz along quite as fast as you'd like or are used to.
5. You can change hub gears when you're stopped (I knew this, but keep on having to remind myself)
6. I can cycle perfectly well with a briefcase-sized shoulder bag on one shoulder.
7. Whoever decided that Brunton Ave was the best place to put a bike station Richmond needs their head checked :?

With regards to point 7 - I need to head down Swan St - I have to get the bike, try to join the traffic or use the pedestrian crossing to turn right into Punt Road, do a hook right hand turn into Swan St, which means waiting for a few REALLY LONG light sequences. Short of trying to get myself into the right-hand-turn lane of Punt road (4 lanes across?) I can't see any better solution :? Any suggestions?

Anyway, I'm really enjoying it and a few people have already asked me about it having seen me turning up to a rehearsal on a clunky very unSqueaza-like bike :D
Still a cyclist, albeit one who never rides any more....

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Re: So, who regularly uses the Melbourne Bike Share?

Postby Percrime » Thu 17 Nov 2011, 9:17 pm

I think it might be worth investing in the $5 bike helmet. Just on the basis that your more expensive one is the only bit of bike kit you are really lashing out on. And I would still be using gloves. Just a comment. My SS is getting one of those bike share helmets.. just cos a $150 helmet on a $30 bike is silly We built a old and very rusty mixte up for JAC on the weekend

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Re: So, who regularly uses the Melbourne Bike Share?

Postby squeaza » Thu 17 Nov 2011, 10:15 pm

The helmets don't look too bad. I'm using my old $50 helmet, that after wearing a better one is bloody uncomfortable, really hard to adjust the straps correctly, and a constant reminder as to why I upgraded in the first place.

Gloves... Hmmm I'm normally a fan, but at 15kph for 2-3kms at a time, not so likely to be sliding along the road at great speed, and it's just another thing to have to remember to carry with me.
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Re: So, who regularly uses the Melbourne Bike Share?

Postby The Duckmeister » Thu 17 Nov 2011, 10:36 pm

squeaza wrote:Gloves... Hmmm I'm normally a fan, but at 15kph for 2-3kms at a time, not so likely to be sliding along the road at great speed, and it's just another thing to have to remember to carry with me.

And there's another example of how a share-bike trip would become more planned & less spontaneous. Not really how it needs to be portrayed if it's to work.
Just ride the bloody thing and enjoy yourself!

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Re: So, who regularly uses the Melbourne Bike Share?

Postby squeaza » Thu 17 Nov 2011, 11:08 pm

The Duckmeister wrote:
squeaza wrote:Gloves... Hmmm I'm normally a fan, but at 15kph for 2-3kms at a time, not so likely to be sliding along the road at great speed, and it's just another thing to have to remember to carry with me.

And there's another example of how a share-bike trip would become more planned & less spontaneous. Not really how it needs to be portrayed if it's to work.


zackly.
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Re: So, who regularly uses the Melbourne Bike Share?

Postby j9 » Fri 18 Nov 2011, 12:25 am

squeaza wrote:7. Whoever decided that Brunton Ave was the best place to put a bike station Richmond needs their head checked :?

With regards to point 7 - I need to head down Swan St - I have to get the bike, try to join the traffic or use the pedestrian crossing to turn right into Punt Road, do a hook right hand turn into Swan St, which means waiting for a few REALLY LONG light sequences. Short of trying to get myself into the right-hand-turn lane of Punt road (4 lanes across?) I can't see any better solution :? Any suggestions?

Ride up through the MCG park (cyclists are allowed) and then down to the bridge over the railway lines and come out on Swan st near Rod Laver Arena
"More waffle here than a BBC breakfast!" - The Duckmeister

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Re: So, who regularly uses the Melbourne Bike Share?

Postby Percrime » Fri 18 Nov 2011, 6:16 am

Sure. But an old pair of gloves in a bag or a purse.... not so bad. You are right..it wouldn't be a deal breaker.... just something I would prefer. I guess I was looking at it a bit more from the viewpoint of my SS tho........ its a long way into town and back.

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Re: So, who regularly uses the Melbourne Bike Share?

Postby squeaza » Fri 18 Nov 2011, 8:19 am

And your SS isn't the Melbourne Bike Share :? which was the topic of conversation...
Still a cyclist, albeit one who never rides any more....

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Re: So, who regularly uses the Melbourne Bike Share?

Postby baudman » Fri 18 Nov 2011, 8:33 am

My daily ride is a 3spd. So, altho heavy, there's a kind of familiarity with the BlueBikes for me.

The thing I find invaluable is, if going from one end to the other, the ability to look at bike (and free slot) availability at each end. How did we ever survive without SmartPhones? :lol:

(Oh, and I'm not a regular user, as I almost always have my bike in the CBD with me. If there were stations further afield, I'd probably use more often).

With respect to positioning of stations - most of them are positioned to try and meet the need. If they don't get the usage, they move them. Quite often, in fact. So feel free to let them know where the Richmond one would be better placed, and I'm sure they'd take that on board. (Of course, if it gets a lot of use and no complaint from anyone else, it'll likely stay where it is).

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smc
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Re: So, who regularly uses the Melbourne Bike Share?

Postby smc » Fri 18 Nov 2011, 11:44 am

I saw a Melbourne blue bike riding the beach side path in Altona last weekend, that's a decent ride on one of them if they started in the city :shock:

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Re: So, who regularly uses the Melbourne Bike Share?

Postby bc » Fri 18 Nov 2011, 12:24 pm

j9 wrote:
squeaza wrote:Any suggestions?

Ride up through the MCG park (cyclists are allowed) and then down to the bridge over the railway lines and come out on Swan st near Rod Laver Arena
+1, Or you could continue on along Birrarung Marr and cross the river at Swanston St.

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Re: So, who regularly uses the Melbourne Bike Share?

Postby Snuffy » Fri 18 Nov 2011, 1:07 pm

I use one at least once a week to get from Doglands into the CBD either for meetings or lunch.

Works heaps good for me, but I agree - even in first gear, if it's even slightly warm, I'm guaranteed to break a sweat riding up the overpass over the Southern Cross train line.... That said, winter is great :D

With the general lack of turnover of the bikes, Spotcycle makes the whole thing workable for me. The useful stations around Melbourne Central and GPO are often quite full, so knowing that I Can dock elsewhere and walk the rest of the way.

Things that would really make my day....

1) Finishing the construction along Swanston
2) A more direct (and legal) way to get from Elizabeth / Bourke to the dock near the Telstra shop
Reaching new levels of softness!

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Re: So, who regularly uses the Melbourne Bike Share?

Postby gobsec » Fri 18 Nov 2011, 9:51 pm

I have used them in a multi-modal way- cycle in from the eastern suburbs, drop my bike off and have a shower at the Bike Park at Banana Alley, and then take a bike share cycle from the Southbank station and ride to meetings at Docklands in my "civvies".

I agree with comments about the weight- it can be hard to avoid breaking into a sweat. But I love the upright position and my attaché case strapped to the front. I feel somehow...free spirited, which I think has to do with the fact that I am dressed the same as everyone else, but unlike them I am having fun going to my Serious Business Meeting.
getting older but still enjoying cycling

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Re: So, who regularly uses the Melbourne Bike Share?

Postby human909 » Fri 18 Nov 2011, 11:01 pm

Percrime wrote:Sure. But an old pair of gloves in a bag or a purse.... not so bad. You are right..it wouldn't be a deal breaker.... just something I would prefer. I guess I was looking at it a bit more from the viewpoint of my SS tho........ its a long way into town and back.


:?

I find it odd that you see gloves as so essential to riding a bike, let alone a bike share one. Comments like this start to make me think that Australians just understand how "utility" cycling works.

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Re: So, who regularly uses the Melbourne Bike Share?

Postby squeaza » Fri 18 Nov 2011, 11:13 pm

I used them a few more times today - came out of rehearsal at VCA at 5.11, was sitting at a table with a beer in hand on the corner of Bourke/Exhibition at 5.24... it helped that there were bike stations right outside both these. I'd left the car parked down near the Kings Domain, and after my concert popped my bubble-tea in my shoulder bag in the front, and whizzed all the way down Swanston back to my car :) Probably about the same time as a tram for that, but so much more fun, and a lot of people were looking at me grinning away on my heavy blue bike in black concert clothes :D

More importantly than convenience or cost, it means I get to spin my legs around more than I normally do :) Oh, and they cross tram-tracks so much better than 23mm tyres ;)

The spotcycle app. is good - I rode to South Melbourne yesterday and could see that there was only 1 available bike dock there :? I rode extra fast just in case some pesky commuter stole it and I had to ride back miles to another station.
Still a cyclist, albeit one who never rides any more....


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