I wrote a pretty extensive introduction to Wrocław’s new bike-sharing program about a month and a half ago, with 18 photos and 2 videos included. Now, I said that I would write an update once I tried it out and I finally have. Marika (my partner) and I were walking to the store today and decided on the way to try it out if there were any bikes available (every other time we went to try it out there weren’t bikes available or, once, the system was down). It was quite simple to use — the process being:

  • Click that you want to rent a bike.
  • Enter your phone number (which you have to give them to register, which you can do online).
  • Enter your pin number (again, you choose this when registering).
  • Enter the number of the bike you want to rent.
  • The system unlocks it and tells you the code for the manual lock as well (which I didn’t notice at first, causing a bit of trouble — but when you go to return the bikes, it tells you the code again, so no worries).
  • Then, it asks you if you want to rent another bike. We did, so went through the same process again.
  • Then, you just take the bikes and go, in theory.

The problem we had this time was that all but one of the bikes had a completely flat front tire (I think there were 5 bikes in total there). So we passed on the rental.

We went to another station on the way and, while we didn’t rent a bike (we were quite close), the bikes did have pumped up tires.

On our return from the store, we decided to see if there were any bikes next to it with pumped up tires. We thought we found a couple, but then one was not available for some reason, so I requested the one next to it, but found out afterward that the front tire was very flat. We went ahead and used those two anyway, though, not wanting to go through the whole process yet again and not having very far to bike.

So, my take on the system overall:

Pluses

  • The system is quite easy to use.
  • The bikes are quite decent — I like that they have a basket on the front (convenient for grocery shopping). They have 3 gears and cushy seats and you can adjust the seats to match your height.

Minuses

  • Stations are often empty (especially on weekends when the weather is nice — it was rainy and chilly today). You can’t really rely on a bike being there.
  • Apparently, the bikes are not being checked regularly enough to keep the tires pumped up either. Quite a disappointment and decreases the reliability that much more.

I’m curious to try the bikes out again and see if anything else comes to mind.

Anyone else try these out yet and have something to say? Chime in! (Oh, that reminds me, I was happy to have a bell on my bike, for fun and for nudging pedestrians and pigeons to get out of the way, but turned out the bell on Marika’s bike had disappeared. I’m curious to see how the bikes hold up to hooligans and general wear and tear.)

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