Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kate Ryan, WTOP reporter, writes bike blog

Kate Ryan is a reporter for WTOP. She's also an avid cyclist who often covers bike-related topics for WTOP. See her story entitled Bike death prompts change to Md. driver laws. Kate maintains a good bike blog, Lane Change: Kate Ryan Reports. It's frequently updated and has lots of good DC-area bike news. See CaBi: My Test Ride and Bikes and Cars: We May Struggle to Share the Road...

We also recently rode our first Capital Bikeshare (CaBi) bike in  Crystal City during Car Free Day. The bikes look very sturdy and are great for getting around town. The density of stations in Crystal City seemed very good and it looks like the system there will be a success. It's a great accomplishment to have a system that's compatible in two different states (oops... a state and the District of Columbia).

Here's our latest CaBi story: When we had a meeting downtown this week we took Metro and wanted to test out the bikes again. We exited the Orange line at Foggy Bottom and planned to ride the bike to the McPherson Square area (don't tell anyone I didn't have a helmet with me). At home I had looked at the map of current stations and saw there was one near the Foggy Bottom Metro station. When I arrived, I whipped out my iPhone, pulled up the map from the CaBi site and .... couldn't see a thing. Well, I could see a few streets and what looked like station symbols but couldn't read the street names and the map navigation was very hard to control.

I ended up walking from Foggy Bottom, along K Street, all the way to 16th St and saw no stations; no CaBi stations that is. There were two SmartBike stations but they didn't do me any good. I was told there is an iPhone app for finding stations, and after some searching just came across iFindBikes, a free (for now) app: "iFindBikes is the ideal tool for users of city bike rental around the world. iFindBikes shows you where are the bike stations around you and how many bikes and docks (parking slots) are available." Guess I'll study the online map a little more closely before heading out next time. I'll also check out iFindBikes.

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SpotCycle is probably the best (and free!) smartphone application for finding Capital Bikeshare bikes:
Thanks Tim. I've downloaded the app and it looks like it will be very helpful, although the map display is a bit slow and seems to get hung up once in a while. I'll use it the next time I'm looking for a CaBi bike.

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