To be honest and frank, Dallas is not bike friendly. Our roads are designed for cars with little to no shoulder space, which is often littered with trash, dirt and sharp objects. Our bike lanes are shared spaces with much larger vehicles. Many businesses do not have bike racks for employees and visitors. The city hasn’t had much success moving forward on bike initiatives. Dallas is a culture of big trucks and SUVs, not personal bike transportation … yet. If there is one thing that is constant, it’s change. Nothing stays the same.
The City of Dallas has opened up our streets to new bike share programs. Three new bike share companies are scattered throughout the city. With their bright colors, the bikes themselves attract attention and inherently start a conversation. “What are those?” “Who’s going to use them?” “When did this happen?”
My husband and I set out on a mission to try all three current bike shares available in Dallas. All three use an app to find nearby bikes. We headed to the Katy Trail where there were a plethora of bikes available. All three new systems do not use bike racks. They all lock with a back tire lock system that can be used anywhere.
I hate to even write a review comparing all three bikes because the reality is, they are all good for the city. Each one of them provides an alternative form of transportation that we are not used to seeing in Dallas. With every ride, it shifts culture, just a smidge.
The rides are all around $1 for 30 minutes. Extremely affordable for a commuter, errands or just for a little bike play time. Each bike share is easy to download the app, find a bike and unlock. Give it a try! If you have a helmet, bring your own. None of the companies offer head safety.
For those that want a bit more detail on each bike share, here’s what I thought of all three bikes:
1. Spin Bike: Bright orange colored, these bikes are easy to spot. The front basket is a nice touch to hold belongings. Spin Bike was super light and easy to lift, but I think that actually made riding it worse. It seemed flimsy. Our seat adjuster was broken and we rode around with a constantly moving seat. The brakes squeaked a high pitch, scaring the crap out of my dog every time I had to slow down. Easy to use the app and links with Apple Pay which means you don’t have to enter your credit card information — major plus for me.
2. Lime Bike: Yellow and green makes these bikes stand out. This was the best riding bike of all three. It felt sturdy, easy to steer, and I was confident in the brakes. But, because of the sturdy, smooth ride, this was the heaviest bike of all three. There’s no way I was lifting this bike much higher than a few inches off the ground. The app worked just as easy at Spin Bike and locking it was a breeze. Easy peasy. I did have to enter my credit card number, but only once and it’s stored.
3. VBikes: I honestly didn’t even know this company was on our streets, but turns out it was the first! As we were pedaling down the trail I noticed a few of the VBikes parked along the side and knew we had to try it. The app downloaded fast but I wasn’t happy with the $99 deposit it made on my account (update on Aug 18 – no more $99 deposit!). And then it works like the Starbucks app – you load your account with money and then apply that to each ride. So I loaded $5, used $1 and will probably never use VBikes again, so I wasted $4. VBikes is the simplest ride of all three, with no adjustable seat and no gears – nothing to mess with. But, way too small and awkward for this 5’8” gal.
Again, all of these are great additions to Dallas. The Spin Bike app allowed me to let the company know that my bike wasn’t working, so hopefully bikes will be in constant repair. I think that will be what gives an edge to one company — who can maintain their bikes the best.
Get out and ride!
As seen in the Katy Trail Weekly.