Diverting Topic #2: Free Bikes!

About half a mile — excuse me, about one kilometer – north of my house is the town of Santa Monica. Or, as we like to call it, the People’s Republic of Santa Monica.

Pretty much every left-wing scheme — from rent control to welcoming the homeless — has been tried there, and (surprise!) foundered on the rocky shores of reality.  

Now, as liberalism crashes down around itself, it toots out its sad little report, which is this: free bikes!  From grand plans for comparable worth wag…

  1. Tony Martyr

    Further Nanny State connection – in Australia, bike helmets are now generally compulsory (and plenty of people get stopped and fined, believe me), regardless of the lack of evidence that they do any good.    This had been in place for several years when a couple of the major cities tried “hire bike” schemes.  But you can’t ride without a helmet, and they weren’t hiring helmets….

  2. Pony Convertible

    My home town,  The People Republic of Bloomington, IN put together a “Yellow Bike” program.  The idea was they would put these yellow bikes out on the streets, to be shared by the community, and if you saw one you could ride it, and then leave it on the street when you were done for someone else to ride.   All the yellow bikes disappeared in about 2 days.

  3. Dick from Brooklyn

    Check out the “contextual” advertising banner in the right column of this screenshot of this thread from some poor manufacturer of “bike to work pants” that just wasted $0.0001.

    Screen-Shot-2012-11-06-at-8.34.15-AM.png

  4. tabula rasa

    The mind boggles.

  5. MisterSirius

    “Free bikes” has been tried a number of times. Like a lot of other things. And, like a lot of things, the history doesn’t seem to matter–it is eternally evergreen, fresh and new, a visionary vision whose time has come…

    It would be sad if it weren’t so funny; it would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

  6. Barkha Herman

    I take your 5 free bicycles and raise you an county wide program…

    Bike sharing makes it economical and convenient to use bikes for trips that are too far to walk but too short to drive. As a member, you can use a B-cycle to run an errand, grab lunch, travel from the bus stop to your office, or just get some fresh air. There are as many reasons to use a B-cycle as there are members!

    UPDATE: here’s how many there are: http://broward.bcycle.com/

    Yep!  We have them all over.  Never seen anyone actually use them.  How much do they cost, you ask?  $5.00 / day; $25/week; $45/ year.

  7. Jimbo

    There was something similar to this in D.C. when I was visiting this summer for a conference.  I could have really used one when I was running late for a concert about 16 blocks away from the hotel, but it seemed easier (and maybe cheaper) to opt for a cab.

  8. Lamont Cranston

    Wait, wait, wait:

    Five bikes. $3,500. 

    Five bicycles. Thirty-five benjamins. Three thousand, five hundred U.S. currency one-dollar simolians. 

    Granted, we did just revert to standard time, but here in the Eastern time zone that’s $700 per bicycle. 

    That’s, uh, a pretty hefty price per Schwinn. 

    And I’m guessing there’s a consultant getting $250/hour in professional fees to monitor the success of the program….

  9. Chris Campion

    The League of American Bicyclists can only be stopped by The League of Extraordinarily Rational-Minded!  Quick!  To the Rationally-Minded Danger Cave, where cost-benefit analyses rule the Cave!

    There’s nothing worse than someone with money who’s not responsible for earning it, but they’re pretty damn sure that something has to be done with it.  Liberalism, in a nutshell. 

    If I wanted to go for a bike ride, I’d probably just ride my bike.  I’m crazy like that.  If they put out Rent-A-Skateboards, would the idea still be as rad?

  10. drlorentz

    As a person who actually rides to work sometimes, incidentally not too many kilometers from the People’s Republic of Santa Monica (PRSM), I can offer some insights. Free bikes is hardly the issue. Maybe the good folks of the PRSM would care to consider the real issues:

    1. You’ll need a shower after riding your bike to work. Otherwise, your chances for meaningful interaction with coworkers would significantly reduced by olfactory issues. If your workplace does not have one, riding is out.

    2. It gets dark at about 5 pm now. Riding in the dark is dangerous, even with bike lanes. I avoid it whenever possible. For people with normal schedules, it is not possible to be home before dark unless your commute distance is insignificant.

    The decision to ride or not turns on far more substantive reasons than whether or not a free bike is available. Needless to say, I did not ride in today. The end of daylight saving time signals the end of my biking-to-work season.

  11. BlueAnt

    Witness its smashing success:

    Although only about a dozen riders have checked out bikes, the Santa Monica program has attracted a variety of clients. Some, like Balmat, commuted to work and loved getting the exercise. Others used the bikes to ride to the library and the grocery store. One experienced rider used the commuter bike for a more comfortable ride at CicLAvia.

    Most of the bike borrowers said they are now contemplating buying their own.

    Look on my works, ye conservatives, and despair!

  12. drlorentz
    John Murdoch: Wait, wait, wait:

    Five bikes. $3,500. 

    Five bicycles. Thirty-five benjamins. Three thousand, five hundred U.S. currency one-dollar simolians. 

    Granted, we did just revert to standard time, but here in the Eastern time zone that’s $700 per bicycle. 

    That’s, uh, a pretty hefty price per Schwinn. 

    Why do I get the feeling you haven’t purchased a Schwinn in a long time? Maybe because I see that even a fairly basic Schwinn costs almost one thousand simoleons.

    Perhaps it’s the reversion to standard time, or perhaps it’s the simoleon to simolian conversion rate.

  13. Fred Cole

    Yay!  Free stuff!  Forever!

  14. Valiuth
    drlorentz

    John Murdoch: Wait, wait, wait:

    Five bikes. $3,500. 

    Five bicycles. Thirty-five benjamins. Three thousand, five hundred U.S. currency one-dollar simolians. 

    Granted, we did just revert to standard time, but here in the Eastern time zone that’s $700 per bicycle. 

    That’s, uh, a pretty hefty price per Schwinn. 

    Why do I get the feeling you haven’t purchased a Schwinn in a long time? Maybe because I see that even a fairly basic Schwinn costs almost one thousand simoleons.

    Perhaps it’s the reversion to standard time, or perhaps it’s the simoleon to simolian conversion rate. · 18 minutes ago

    Unless you buy a bike from not Schwinn then you can get it for 200-300 bucks easy. Just look up bikes at your local sporting good stores. 

  15. Eeyore
    Bike-share service provider Bike Nation also plans to launch a $16-million program in Los Angeles during the first quarter of 2013. The firm’s goal is to add up to 400 bike stations and 4,000 bicycles around the city for members to rent and return at any station

    If this ends up as a Federal Stimulus program, the $16-million number will remain the same, but it will end up as 4 bike stations and 40 bikes.

  16. Limestone Cowboy
    Valiuth

    drlorentz

    John Murdoch: Wait, wait, wait:

    Five bikes. $3,500. 

    Five bicycles. Thirty-five benjamins. Three thousand, five hundred U.S. currency one-dollar simolians. 

    Granted, we did just revert to standard time, but here in the Eastern time zone that’s $700 per bicycle. 

    That’s, uh, a pretty hefty price per Schwinn. 

    Why do I get the feeling you haven’t purchased a Schwinn in a long time? Maybe because I see that even a fairly basic Schwinn costs almost one thousand simoleons.

    Perhaps it’s the reversion to standard time, or perhaps it’s the simoleon to simolian conversion rate. · 18 minutes ago

    Unless you buy a bike from not Schwinn then you can get it for 200-300 bucks easy. Just look up bikes at your local sporting good stores.  · 5 minutes ago

    Or less. Check Walmart. Better yet, contract Walmart as purchasing agent for said bikes.

  17. Kervinlee

    Yeah, bikes. Great for fitness, small children and peasants trapped in totalitarian basket-case dictatorships. People in prosperous free societies still prefer the comfort, safety and efficiency of the private automobile driven on publicly financed roads. Helps make for a richer, more mobile society – just the thing that the bike extremists can’t abide.

  18. Clandesteyn
    Kervinlee: Yeah, bikes. Great for fitness, small children and peasants trapped in totalitarian basket-case dictatorships. People in prosperous free societies still prefer the comfort, safety and efficiency of the private automobile driven on publicly financed roads. Helps make for a richer, more mobile society – just the thing that the bike extremists can’t abide.

    Generally true, but remember that this is in California. 

    A) Is CA more like a basket-case dictatorship or a prosperous, free society?

    B) Given the traffic in CA cities, you’ll probably get there faster on a bike.

  19. wilber forge

    It is a given this is absurd on its face. For a taste of  “Biker ” reality, try Portland, Oregon. A privelaged class, save they buy their own.

    Save most motorists would rather regard the arrogant and reckless behaviour of bikers as targets than a contribution.

  20. Paul DeRocco

    I think I’d prefer it if my co-workers didn’t show up for work stinking like pigs. And few offices provide showers.

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