Capital BIXI launched this morning; I’ve been waiting for this all spring, so at lunch time I made my escape and went looking for the nearest station. There was nothing doing at their stated location at the corner of Queen and O’Connor yet, so I went scouting for Plan B. I assumed the Elgin Street station would be the flagship location, and probably equipped with bikes first, and so it turned out to be.
I can report that the ticketing machine was easy to use — it’s basically a simple credit-card authorization –and the unlocking code it gives you for the bike lock/stand is an easy-to-memorize 5-digit combination of 1s, 2s, and 3s. But bring a pen if memory tasks make you nervous.
How does the bike work? Well, the wide tires give it a very smooth ride, and simple 3-speed gearing activated by turning the handgrip makes for uncomplicated propulsion. The brakes were firm and quick, and overall the bike has the feel of a safe and sturdy ride.
BONUS BIXI FOR DUMMIES SECTION: Remember your phone number! The only hiccup I had was my own fault; in my geekish haste, I mistyped the phone number associated with my credit card, and that is the piece of data BIXI uses to authenticate your card, as opposed to expiration dates and 3-digit security numbers. But the re-do was fast and it was no-harm no-foul, so I was soon on my way — and far too excited to care about the rain.
The Murray/McKenzie station had a lone Bixi but I suspect this is because they had put so many at Elgin for the “show”. I hope they really catch on. I did see several people waiting for the media to vanish before trying them out. After all, who wants to be stumbling around the machine with cameras rolling.