Bike Share Fail... Spot Cycle Epic Fail


oh man...

oh oh man!
Capital Bike Share FAIL!

trying not to get too wordy on the whole Capital Bike Share topic... yet I feel I need to get this out
sadly... in my limited Capital BikeShare experience the ratio of problems to problem-less trips is not so good


Bikeshare... it seems so convenient
yet... on multiple occasions it has been far from convenient
far less convenient than just riding my own bicycle
I do own my own bicycle... in fact I own several

last night some friends were in town... some friends I do not get to see so often
these friends came over to my house and we walked up to Mount Pleasant Street for liquid refreshments
once on the strip it was decided that that watering holes in Mount Pleasant did not suit our needs so we would continue on into Adams Morgan
rather than march it I opted to ride it... with my Capital BikeShare membership key chain I freed one of the red lead sleds and mounted up

at a walking pace I rolled
why... because I could
and because my legs were tired from an afternoon bicycle ride looping the hills in Rock Creek Park followed by a bicycle ride home from school with the kids

fearing that I would exceed the 30 minute point to point charge-less ride I rolled on ahead with a plan to meet my friends out front of Madam's Organ

I rolled effortlessly down Columbia Road
I rolled helmetlessly down Columbia Road
onto the sidewalk to the bike station along side the restaurant that used to be Trios I approached the quite popular Adams Morgan bike station

darn... the bike station was packed to maximum capacity!
not what I had hoped... but something I had been ready for
it was not a happy emotion... yet it was not quite frustration
back on the bike with my iPhone in hand I checked the Spotcycle App to see what my best option would be

Duke Ellington bridge or 16th Street and Columbia Road?

ah... the technology of the day
as I rolled forward and accessed the Spotcycle data I noticed that the red circle for Adams Morgan was not fully filled

it appeared that two bikes had just left the station and that there were two docks
so... I retraced my tire tracks and looped back to the Adams Morgan bike station

Spotcycle FAILED ME!

the bike station was just as it was moments prior
there was no room at the inn

to my pleasure I saw four people walking my way
it appeared that they would be taking bicycles from the Adams Morgan bike station
lucky me!
sure enough... one of the woman had her bike share key in hand

we made small talk as she pulled a bike from its cradle
I filled that vacancy with my bike as soon as it open then left off to meet my friends

Madams Organ had a cover that we we did not feel like paying so we gathered for beers at The Reef
amusingly enough I ran into one of my neighbors from down the block
a father of two of my boys best friends
small town... small world... we talked about Go Pro helmet cams then parted ways

the evening involved a few beers
just a few beers... not a sailor on leave few beers
just a summer night on the roof deck few beers

hearing the calling of my bed I evacuated early
ignoring the plea of my friends to stay for one more beer
ignoring the call of the beer in the tap that screamed out DRINK ME
I was out the door and down the block

a quick detour for a JUMBO SLICE and I was back on a Capital Bike Share red lead sled
seat extended to its maximum I rode the short distance from Adams Morgan to Mount Pleasant
ah... the pleasure of riding a bicycle on a cool summer night on the well lit streets
streets nearly devoid of cars

the cool breeze felt nice
low humidity and an amazing moon filled the sky

it pleased me that I was riding rather than walking
moving at a bicycle pace would get me home and in bed more quickly than walking
then it happened...
I knew it was possible... but this time it did not happen without frustration
when I got to the Mount Pleasant bike station I was greeted by a fully occupied bike station



again I pulled out the iPhone and took a glance at the SPOTCYCLE App
I weighed my options
16th and Columbia Road seemed like my best bet
frustrating as it may be I again retraced my tire tracks

rode back the way I came
rode in the opposite direction of my house and my bed

anxiously I pedaled
wondering if the SpotCycle App would FAIL me again
alas no... the information about the 16th and Columbia bike station was accurate and true
there were in fact two vacancies at this station

with the Capital BikeShare red lead sled locked tightly in its cradle I reverted to walking
I opened up my pizza box and indulged myself in a guilty pleasure
betraying my aim to lose weight I satisfied my immediate needs
I ate as I walked

it was delicious... the massive Jumbo Slice of pepperoni pizza placated me

my emotions of anger and frustration were buffered by greasy pizza bliss
bread. + melted cheese + greasy pepperoni=HEAVEN
ah... my Al Rockerism was satisfied

I meandered through the neighborhood taking a less than direct route home cutting through alley ways
taking not of the evolution and change of the neighborhood
examining houses that were once messenger filled group houses with music practice spaces in the basement are now occupied by urban professionals with children rather than different incarnations of urban hipsters
eventually reaching my destination... home sweet home
kicked off my shoes... brushed my teeth... then flopped into bed

Bikeshare FAILED me!
Spotcycle FAILED me!




bikermark said...


Seems to me that the strategy is to use the iphone to check for open slots at the destination before deciding to ride.

gwadzilla said...

I think it needs to be more dependable

it needs to be more time efficient

it should be similar to taking a taxi or a bus

there needs to be a certain amount of time allotted to be ready for this sort of things

an occasional filled station
an occasional empty station

really... I have to realize that there is a pattern to the movement of these bikes

I am sure that people who count on these bike stations being full on the right end and empty on the right end plan accordingly... more than likely leaving early enough not to be stuck without a bike or arriving to a full station

jerry'sdaughter said...

trouble is the app can indicate open spots at your destination but they can fill while you're on your way there. And, the app can be just plain wrong. I have had it show open spots at full stations I am standing in front of .

jerry'sdaughter said...

@bikermark Trouble is the destination can show up on the app as having open docks but be filled by the time you arrive. And the app can be just plain wrong. I have stood in front of filled stations with the app showing empty docks

LBJ said...

Like you, I have decided to forego the bikeshare for now...I'm making it pretty well on my Montague folding bike though, easy to store and a really nice ride.