Thursday, July 31, 2014

San Fransisco: Bay Area Bike Share (BABS)

 We'd spent a week in the San Fransisco area doing things like:
  • going to a few Pirates/Giants games at AT&T Park
  • a Oakland Athletics vs Kansas City Royals game at Coliseum
  • Wine country! Napa and Sonoma!

...and out of curiosity's sake, I needed to try their Bike Share program.

They only plunked stations in the flat areas of Downtown which made sense as these BABS bikes aren't designed to go up ANY hills, let alone the hills of San Fran!

I stopped at a station the day prior to explain the system to Hubby before I tortured him with the logistics of dropping me off at a station and then meeting me across town at another station.

Some BABS bikes get attention/maintenance near AT&T Park.
The next morning, Hubby dropped me off at Townsend and 7th and he drove to meet me at Market and 10th Streets about 1 mile away. I took a route using the wide bike lane on Market and 7th streets. I encountered a roundabout, which was interesting to go through on a bike. The goal was to keep the trip under the 30 minute limit before they started tacking extra fees onto my credit card. The one-day fee to use the system was nine bucks, kinda pricey for my short trip, but I was just doing this for giggles. I tried very hard to convince Hubby it was safe to travel via the BABS bikes, but he simply wasn't ready to venture into rush-hour traffic nor spend 9 dollars to travel 1 mile. This was yet another of my strange hobbies that he endured gracefully and patiently.

Things I noted about the native cyclists: few commuters use hi-viz. EVERYONE uses a u-lock. The motorists treat cyclists with respect. If you signal that you'd like to change lanes on your bike, the driver will let you in with the same courtesy extended to other motorists. Refreshing. I'm accustomed to the "FU, cyclist!" attitude.

I was helmets-less... I mean, I couldn't very well fit my giant Bern helmet into my suitcase.
Marko had suggested just buying a cheap helmet when we got in San Fran and leaving it in there, but I never got around to it. I figured I'd take my head injury chances with the 2 miles in the bike lanes of Downtown San Fransisco as they were probably safer than Pittsburgh! My only fear was getting in the way of a speeding hipster bike messenger.

I'm reminded of a Tony Bennett song...

The system is very easy to use. You're given a code to unlock a bike (within 5 minutes) after using the kiosk. I noted they place a $101 security deposit on your card. The replacement fee if the bike is never returned is $1200.
The bike itself is a TANK.

Naturally, I took photos along my short trip:
Started my journey at Adobe and Zynga's headquarters: Folsom and 7th


End trip: Market and 10th

Look at all that bike infra! WOW.

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