Midwest BikeShare announced its second kiosk opening today, and the city is abuzz about it (or maybe it's bubbling about it?), so I had to check it out. After signing up online and plunking down the membership fee (you can save $10 on your yearly pass with discount code: bublrnow), I went to checkout my first bike. While there, I saw Kevin Hardman, the launch director for Midwest BikeShare.
"Looking good," I told him. "I love the name: Bublr. It's friendly. It makes this program sound fun."
The name Bublr was derived from the Wisconsin-centric slang for "drinking fountain," which helps localize the program within the community.
"We wanted to make it sound easy," Hardman said, who mentioned that even the term "bike" can be intimidating. "Don't ride a bike, ride a Bublr."
So I did.
The checkout process was easy. Just insert the card you used to sign up, and follow the on-screen instructions. If you haven't signed up online, you can pay a daily fee at the station.
"Some of the instructions need slight updating," Hardman noted. "We're still working to make it more user friendly."
The main problem is that even when you have a membership, the screen still incorrectly says you'll be charged a daily fee, which is not true.
"Soon we'll be mailing out keyfobs," Hardman said.
Keep your card in your wallet; these keyfobs will replace the need to interact with anything besides the bike you want to borrow. Just wave it over the sensor of the bike you want and "beep beep beep," the bike is yours to ride.
The Bublr bikes are designed to be more upright and sit the rider in a comfortable position. The seat height can be adjusted with the flip of a lever. Each bike comes equipped with fenders, skirt guards, chain guards, a rack, a built-in lock and a bell.
I had a bag with me, so I threw it in the basket at headed out.
The inital start was a little different than my preferred bikes. With the upright fork, it felt a little twitchy. I attributed part of this to my bag in …Read more...