In light of recent economic and environmental concerns, traveling by bicycle has become much more popular than ever. Many progressive cities have implemented bike sharing programs that make it possible to rent out bikes for a very small fee, while seasoned bicycle commuters remain loyal to their favorite fixed-gear bicycle brands. Paris has had its bike sharing system in place since 2007, and many cities in the U.S. have followed suit. Although there are clear benefits to having a bike share program available, there are some drawbacks as well.
On a global scale, more bikes means less pollution, and riding a bike is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. In major cities, driving often takes much longer than walking, taking public transportation, or biking, because traffic can be unpredictable. Additionally, parking spots are few and far between in the city, and if you are lucky enough to find one, you often have to pay for it. Plus, on a fundamental level, riding a bike is just a fun way to see the city in a unique and personal way.
Unfortunately, bike sharing programs have the potential of being abused, which has been proven by recent vandalism and theft in Paris. Approximately 9,000 bicycles were lost or damaged in the past year alone.
Many riders also feel uncomfortable about riding an unfamiliar bicycle. Just like a car, knowing the history and riding characteristics of your bike help you ride more safely. Not to mention, you can’t expect a shared bike to be as well maintained as your own.
The Next Step
The general consensus in Paris is that it may be necessary to reduce the amount of bikes available for public use, which will mean closing down stations. Hopefully, this will make the program more financially viable, while also reducing the amount of bikes that are available to be abused. Unfortunately, this also reduces the amount of bikes that are available for those who use them legitimately.
What We Can Learn
Depending on a bike share program as your primary source of transportation is risky. There are many fixed gear bicycle brands out there, and plenty of them offer quality cycles at affordable prices. In the long run, investing in your own bike is going to be the more dependable and cost-effective option. With so many cheap fixed gear bicycle brands around these days, there is no reason why everyone can't enjoy the benefits of a personal bicycle.
Critical Cycles has earned a solid reputation in the cycling community by being one of the only fixed gear bicycle brands that combines quality components, unrivaled style, and budget-friendly prices. Contact us today to snag your own fixie without paying the premium prices found elsewhere.