Only recently did bike-sharing make its debut in Scottsdale AZ, although the program has been active in Phoenix (on a much smaller scale) and elsewhere within the US for several years.
They appeared like magic out of nowhere. Abracadabra... suddenly there were lime green and bright yellow bicycles left randomly on street corners, at bus stops or lined up in neat rows like soldiers.
Bicycles were multiplying across the city faster than you could say "on your bike mate"! We are being invaded by aliens disguised as neon colored bicycles!
Hubby and I decided to investigate how this all works and spend an afternoon "alien riding" around Old Town Scottsdale where we have a particularly large occupation of the bicycles. Plus, it's a lovely place to spend the day!
We parked the car and immediately stumbled across two "ofo" bicycles looking suspiciously like they had beamed down from another planet for our convenience! Whilst they may have come in peace, they certainly were not abiding by our city regulations! Oh no ofo!
First you download the app on your phone. The app has the same name and heinous color as the bikes. Open the app and answer a couple of questions (first time only), then click the "unlock" button. A scanner appears within the app which you place over the Q Code on the bike - this recognizes exactly which bike you have and where it is. Then enter your credit card details which will unlock the bike and you're free to go! The cost is $1 per hour, however if it's your first time using the program your rides are free for the rest of the month!
The app doesn't allow you to unlock more than one bike at a time, so I also had to download it on my phone. Paying for multiple bikes with the same credit card however is acceptable!
The bikes are in good repair and very clean. Nevertheless, I went prepared with Wet Ones to disinfect the handlebars, brake handles and seat. There is a sizable basket to carry your gubbins and the seat is easily adjustable up or down making for a comfortable ride.
First we cycled alongside the canal to view the latest artsy decoration over the water which changes periodically. It always draws the crowds who gather on the bridge for a photo op. Then onward into the heart of the old town as we worked up quite a thirst and appetite!
In the heart of Old Town Scottsdale is the Civic Center Plaza - a well-tended park with flower gardens, water features, sculptures and more all surrounded by restaurants and shops. To our delight, a free concert by local musicians was taking place.
According to the bicycle app which logs your distance and calories burned, I needed refueling! A good excuse for a spot of lunch at AZ88, one of the restaurants that overlooks the park where we managed to secure an outside table with a fine view of the concert!
Lunch is served! I had the salad nicoise, Brian had the club sandwich with their signature crinkle cut fries! It was delightful. This charming lunch spot made my inappropriate bike riding attire perfectly acceptable!
From our table we could see that our two abandoned bikes had been joined by another which had simply materialized. Obviously, it too had been beamed down from somewhere! Then this happened... these girls clearly recognized that there was something ethereal about all this!
Time to move on. Two discarded "LimeBike" vehicles were eerily placed at the exit of the restaurant. Different bike company so need to download the LimeBike app, it takes just seconds. Same routine as before, scan Q code, enter credit card details, et voila!
I must have seemed like a pro at this bike-sharing malarkey as during the day I had three people stop and ask me how it works which ultimately led to the idea of this blog article.
Brian and I have mountain bikes, but it was nice to drive to a specific neighborhood quite far from our home and saunter around with ease using this bike-sharing service. You can literally leave them anywhere, so long as it's legal!
The app has a feature that allows you to report illegally parked bicycles, as well as broken or damaged equipment. Since the bikes all have tracking devices, men in white vans come out and fix whatever is necessary and of course return those that have wandered far from base camp back to the inner circle!
I noticed this week that a significant number of bikes have been placed in North Scottsdale due to the hundreds of thousands of people visiting the Phoenix Open Golf tournament. If they keep spreading, I wonder if it will hurt bicycle businesses.
Thank you for visiting my blog!
I hope you enjoyed my day out as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you!
Karen Serino is a life and style blogger, sharing fashion, fitness and fun for youthful women in their forties, fifties and beyond.
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Click the picture below to see my interview with the lovely Jonet Wooten from Fabulously Chic Over 50