Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Bicing - Zip Car Style Bike Rentals

Paul's comment about Barcelona reminded me of a service we saw there, which I think is just too cool. It definitely falls into the why don't we do that here? category.

Throughout Barcelona, we noticed people zipping around on the same generic bikes. The bikes appear to be offered by Bicing. Unfortunately, their website is in Catalan and not Spanish, so Google won't translate the site for me. This means I'm still a bit sketchy about the details of the service.

From what I can tell, you can use a key card to pickup and drop off bikes at any of hundreds of drop off points. The only thing I can compare it to are the Zip Car drop off and pickup points. But, rather than a single vehicle waiting around, there's dozens.

This idea strikes me as absolutely brilliant for a few reasons:

  • It solves some of the most annoying parts of owing a bike: where do I store it and how do I maintain it? Both of these issues easily solved for you.
  • The bikes look sturdy enough to be used for both errands as well as a day out riding in the park with the family.
  • The bikes were absolutely nothing fancy, which means that they were no doubt cheap to buy. And because there's only a single model to service, they are no doubt cheaper to maintain.
  • Here, in the US, going green is quite trendy - I'm sure you'd get people to sign up with the service just so that they could be part of the crowd.

So why doesn't Arlington offer this kind of service? Is it because our roads aren't bike friendly enough? Still, it just seems like you could make it this such an affordable service, that it'd be hard to resist taking advantage of.

This just seems like the ideal project for a green entrepreneur.


  1. If you select "Castellano" on you get the Spanish version, which translates fine with google.

    If you google around a bit you will also find a lot of English sites explaining the concetp

  2. Anonymous10:13 AM


    Maybe Arlington is not doing this, but DC is gearing up.

    Not Greg

  3. Cool!

    Maybe it'll make it across the river to Arlington.

    Prophet5 - thanks for the tip. I had actually tried selecting Castellano and translating one of those pages, but Google didn't like it either.

  4. Anonymous2:46 PM

    If you want some help translating Castellano, I'm your girl.

  5. Sweet! Until a few days ago I had no idea there was a language named Castellano.

    Wonders never cease...

  6. Anonymous9:41 AM

    Well, sorry to burst your bubble... Castellano is Spanish, the most commonly spoken form. Spaniards use the term Castellano to differentiate between the other languages spoken in Spain- Catalan and Basque. Several Latin American countries use the term Castellano instead of Espan~ol. I don't know for sure, but I hypothesize that it is a way of further separating themselves from their former colony status.

  7. Thanks for the Spanish lesson :-).

    This will definitely come in handy next time I play Trivial Pursuit.