Our city just started a community bike program in which they released 80 yellow bikes into downtown for the community to use. As soon as I heard about the program I went down to the High Street Y and signed up. I have lived in other places with community bikes and I love the way a simple machine can bring the community together. Lexington is using new bikes and they are locking them to prevent theft and to help offset some of the expenses associated with maintaining the bikes. The first few weeks didn't go so smoothly, several bikes went missing, some people took bikes out of downtown (which is against the rules of the program,) and there were several instances of bike part theft. The paper ran an article about all of the problems with the program and after that, it seems that these problems are disappearing. This is an awesome program and I encourage you to support it even if you don't actually use the bikes, though it is more fun if you do.
I have decided to start keeping a record of the bikes I ride for the summer so you can refer back to this entry to see my progress.
Thursday, June 14- Bike #67, I picked it up in front of the High Street Y and left it on S. Limestone in front of ReBelle.
Saturday, June 22- Bike #19, I found this bike chained to a telephone poll on High Street and I left it in front of CD Central on S. Limestone.
Sunday, June 23- Bike #55, I found this bike left outside of Common Grounds and I left it in front of Kashmir. This was my first female bike encounter and I have to say that I prefer the higher male bikes.
Wednesday, July 4- Bike #45, I found this bike behind that office complex on the corner where Main and Vine join and rode it all around downtown. I left it on Grand St between Old Vine and High street.
Wednesday, July 4- Bike #4, I found this bike behind Christ Church apartments (unlocked!) and Philip rode it all around downtown with me and left it locked on Grand St between High and Old Vine. Technically, this was Philip's bike ride, but I am logging it anyway.
Friday, July 13- Bike #56, I picked this bike up at a bike post on Grand St. and I left it in front of Two Keys Tavern on Limestone.
My tips for using the yellow bikes
1. Always carry and allen wrench. Four of the six bikes I have ridden so far have had loose handlebars so having a wrench on hand makes for a more enjoyable ride and leaves the bike better for the next rider.
2. Check the tires. I heard that many of the bikes were being left with flat tires. I haven't seen this, but it is a good habit to check the air in the tires, especially since there are only 2-3 places downtown where you can get air. If you leave a bike with flat tires, please call the maintenance number so someone will fix it.
3. Give yourself lots of breaking space. The community bikes have coaster brakes which don't stop as quickly as the rim brakes that most of us are used to.
4. Don't leave the bike in an area already saturated with yellow bikes. Try to find new places to leave the bikes so more people can enjoy them.