Ever been in a city and seen those bike rental centers? Pretty neat, right? But even though at first thought it may just seem like a good way for visitors to get around for a small price, there are more benefits behind it than one might think.
One system in particular has been especially beneficial—the Bixi bike. The whole idea was started in Montreal, Canada. The city was looking for a way to diminish automobile dependence and provide another option for people to get around. The result was the Public Bike System Company’s Bixi Bikes. The concept soon spread to other cities and became a big hit.
What is it?
The stations are designed according to what best suits the city and their sleek look makes them blend into the urban environment instead of overpower it while also remaining durable. A station typically has three main parts: the pay station, the bikes, and the bike docks.
The aluminum docks are what house and lock the bikes. They consist of modular parts, making them easy to replace when repair is needed. The docks are fitted into platforms that are solar-powered.
At the pay station, users have the option of using a key obtained through a subscription or paying for 24-hour access using a credit card. As far as the rates go, it depends on the city, but when you have a subscription, usually the first 30 minutes are included in that price. After that, you pay usage fees.
The bikes themselves are utility bicycles made of one-piece aluminum frames and handlebars that hide the cables and protect them from weather and vandalism. They are very sturdy and safe, with very durable tires and lights that are always on when riding.
The design of these stations has great benefits for the environment. Since the station is solar-powered, there’s no need to worry about having to hook up to the city’s energy grid, which helps cut down related costs and makes the installation of the system easier. The solar power also eliminates the use of non-renewable energy and helps avoid creating emissions.
Another great benefit that comes from these stations is that their portable design and wireless communications eliminate the need for excavation, which can damage the urban environment and cost the community more money. It also makes installation much quicker and more efficient.
The Public Bike System Company has received many awards for their ingenious invention of Bixi bikes. Time Magazine named them the 19th Best Invention of the Year in 2008, and they won the gold prize at the Edison Best New Products Awards in 2009 in the category Energy and Durable Development. They also won the Environmental Award at the Prix Environment Gala and the 2010 Good Design Awards.
These systems are a great way to give people living in urban areas an alternative mode of transportation that will not only help reduce the pollution of using a motor vehicle, but also make travelling in cities more efficient. More and more cities all over the globe are putting the system to use, and the benefits are unmistakable.
So if you ever find yourself living in a big city that has Bixi bikes, be sure to take advantage of this ingenious and environmentally friendly resource!
Joshua Cranmer is a writer from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who has been published across the web. He writes about a number of topics, ranging anywhere from trending topics to innovative discoveries presented by companies like Premier Die Casting.
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