mandag 22. oktober 2007

Bike Rants in Oslo

I was always curious about the city bikes in Oslo
, having seen them on my first visit to the town.

They did to me look a little dolly and heavy but folk had them all over the place and seemed to glide along on them. I heard they were only 80kr...and that's for a year!

So I came to live here and the said cycles popped up everywhere with arty students, house wives and the odd politician using them.

Moving down to the course run on Pilestredet I had the bikes just there at Aschougs plass. Infact spoilt for choice of pick up and drop off.

Eventually one sunny Autumn day I went in to the trafikanten office and asked. 70kr...a whole year. So that was that- purchased.

First run I think was a quick jaunt about town. Thereafter I took the full plunge for a tour to skøyen, the most far flung of the 'depots'. They are a lot comfier that I expected, depsite being 1.5in too small for me. 20 mins is a comfy ride time. Four gears with first making light jogging pace at the ease of walking - probably a bit tough for many on the steepest hills near Sankthanshaugen! Forth gives rapid downhill progress to about 20 mph when they seem to peak out. The main draw backs are the back pedal brakes

I even use them when I am a little late to shave just a few minutes off the walking time and to opent he lungs up.

great Idea! Other city's have similar, many facilitated by the use of smart cards and ball-socket

Now this got me thinking..the furthest out is skøyen which is great and fine. North of the city it seems to stop on the Blindern road short of the uni'. But with 3 hours only it means you can't door to door.

So suggestions 1) park and ride: for the existing scheme, smart card operates parking meter, gratis in porximities to the furtherst out or b) new specialist park and rides c) main rail stations to have them for further travel - offices to have them installed

2) commuter bike scheme- a better bike with
  • male/female sizes and larger wheels
  • with more gears (maybe six are available in a hub now worked by one shifter?)
  • standard brakes- not back-pedal
  • The saddle aimed more at serious cyclists a little but still soft enough for ordinaries.
  • One sided spd, one sided normal pedal.
The idea is you pay a little more and the system secures a bike for you at your leaving depot one hour before OR they just come and put one there. You pay say 1000kr to join in and you get to keep the bike over night. Fo
weekend use you pay another 1000kr, but you get satruday to 12am and sunday from 4pm to collect one from the outskirts, booked by web.

The key benefits would be:

  1. A secure, worry free way of leaving a bike at the main oslo commuting destinations and lysaker/fornebu which are in the Akershus.
  2. A reasonable price for a full alloy bike to prove commuting
  3. Maintainance and cleaing by someone else! Always a bike in good condition or you get one delivered to you!
  4. On wet days, you can skip it or if dry on morning but rain later, commute one way wihtout worrying about your bike being left overnight.
  5. Better fit than the current bikes for seriously enjoyable training on the way to work.
  6. Free helmet and jacket with advertising on it- to show you are green and get others on board!
The bikes would be maybe under cover at nigth or collected fromt eh centre. Or maye in semi secure ., video overwathced places. ythe pedals would either need patent tool spindles or could be glued in with superglue. same for the brake cantilevers.