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Thread: CaBi equivalents overseas

  1. #1
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    Default CaBi equivalents overseas

    I was just in Spain on vacation. They are also very much encouraging bicycle use (and pedestrian, train, bus, anything non-car). In the two larger cities I was in, they had CaBi equivalents. In Zaragoza, it was Bizi and in Barcelona, it was BiCiNg. The systems appeared to be for residents - or at least no way for short term users to sign up. A card or key was needed. The bikes in the two cities were similar to each other. What I found curious was that the front wheel was smaller that the back wheel. I was not sure why that would be desirable. The units were all over the downtown areas (I was not in the outskirts much to see their presence or lack there of) and lots of people used them. As well as using their own bikes. They had much better bike infrastructure there and the cars were more used to them (or so it seemed - and more so in Zaragoza).

    Zaragoza's Bizi:
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    Barcelona's BiCiNg:
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    Anyway, I thought folks might be interested to see what these were like.

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  3. #2
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    If I'm not mistaken, the original bike share bikes (pre-CaBi) looked similar to this.

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    Default Torino and Genova

    I recently returned from a trip to Genoa and Turin. Genoa seemed to lack bike-friendly infrastructure and I saw very few cyclists. Turin had some decent infrastructure in the center of the city (on the bus ride from the airport, the bus gave a cyclist a whole 3 inches - and that cyclist have moved to be almost on the curb and in generally it didn't look like as much infrastructure in that region). Bike lanes and bike trails, plus [TO] Bike, their bike share system (see photo). I think one can get one day membership, but it was not clear to me how from the machine, but my Italian isn't great. I did see people using the bikes as well as their own all over. Less so in Genoa (nor did I find a bike share system there).

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    I meant to comment more on my previously posted trip to Spain. This is a good place for some comments, because I must say that I have noticed differences between the two countries. On an earlier trip to Spain, I was in Salamanca (a university town) and that was bike friendly with trails and the like, whereas a different set of trips to Italy (Bologna, Florence, and Rome) there was a mixed set of infrastructure - more in Bologna than the others, but still seemed slim. Overall, where I was in both countries, there seemed to be better infrastructure for cyclists in Spain, including lots of signs on roads between the towns indicating that one needed to give cyclists 1.5m (not that I could figure out that distance when driving. I think I goofed once and gave only 3 ft and the cyclist glared at me), whereas I have not seen such signs in Italy. Italy has not seemed quite as bike friendly, which I find kind of amusing given the well known bicycle manufacturers. Perhaps I have missed the bike friendly areas in Italy, but from the last several cities and towns I visited, while there are people cycling, the infrastructure wasn't there.

    Just kind of interesting, but not a scientific study. Yet. I think I will continue to travel and check out more areas in the different countries to see if this observation holds up. Of course, testing out the local food and wine too.

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  6. #4
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    Visited a few pertinent locales this October. Madrid has a reasonably evolved bikeshare system....using e-bikes! This makes sense since some of Madrid's terrain is hilly. If it's any reference point, most regular bikers in town use MTBs. Saw an interesting variety of bikeshare users. The system was accessible for non-subscribers. I confess to slacking and not trying the system. Hey, a reason to return! Most riders that I saw were solo (not in groups) and they tended to behave fairly well. There is less in the way of dedicated infrastructure, but sharing of space / roads seemed to work pretty well.

    London's bikeshare system seemed similar to ours (sorry, did not get pics). It also was available for temporary use. Most regular riders, by contrast, rode road bikes, sometimes in large and fairly swift packs. Lots of bike lanes (protected or just marked) and there seemed to be a reasonable respect for cyclists, at least where I was. London's "no car zone" downtown (where any cars transiting the zone at certain times have to pay fees, sort of like downtown HOT lanes) helps get folks out of cars and into alternate transport systems, including bikes.

    Of course, in both cases there are highly evolved public transport systems (subway + bus) that serve the vast majority of residents.

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  8. #5
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    Glad to hear about Madrid. I was trying to remember what the biking was like there, especially since I was there the same trip as Salamanca, but I just wasn't sure what I was remembering. Adds another in the column of good work by Spain. (and the DC area is about as hilly or more so than Madrid - I have walked both cities extensively. Barcelona isn't completely flat nor is Salamanca, or really any old city - they were usually built along or surrounding rivers which need some down hill to operate properly. I admit that I saw few cyclists in Alcaniz, Spain, where I was in between Zaragoza and Barcelona. That town was built on a steep hill, with the old castle at the top (no river up there - it was along the base of the town. But it was good for protection and seeing the enemy from miles away). It was tough walking the town and driving it, although it would have been fun to ride from the top to the bottom, switch-backing on the way down. I would like to get back to Lisbon and see what they have - that was a city where I thought the tourist map needed to be a topo map.).

    Good to hear about London too. Especially the bikeshare system. I had heard about the "no car zone" and that people where biking more there. Perhaps when I get there again, I will try the bikeshare out.

  9. #6
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    Just confirming Bici in Barcelona is not available for daily or short term users. The minimum membership is 6 month or a year.

    I rented a bike twice in Barcelona. It is an extremely friendly city for bicycles with bike lanes everywhere and traffic regulations (and drivers) that respect the bikers.

    I was there in October 2016.

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