There are so many things I’d like to blog about from my trip to San Antonio, from the unexpected bicycle culture, to the art and architecture, to the conference I attended, and so on. But I think the first blog should be about the coolest find – a B-Cycle “B-Trike”!
The Mechanic had joined me after the conference ended, and wanted to test out the B-Cycle bikes as well, since it is the competitor system to Alta and Capital Bikeshare here in DC (and Citibikes and Divvy bikes and Bixi and so on). So we picked up a pair of the gray Trek bikes near the Blue Star Arts (and beer and bikes) complex, and cruised down the Mission Trail to Mission San Jose. This was my goal, since it is the only national park in the area, and I wanted to get my National Parks Passport stamped.
We were both extremely impressed by the Mission Trail. The nice wide path ran alongside the San Antonio River, included decorative elements in the design of the path, and was dotted all along the way with picnic tables, benches, shaded rest areas, and signage about the river improvements project the city is undertaking. It never felt unsafe, although it did feel really, really hot… It is such a jewel in this city to have so much space dedicated to getting people outdoors. If we’d had more time, and it wasn’t so hot, we would have biked the entire trail.
But upon arrival at the Mission, we immediately zeroed in on what was innocently parked at the docks – a red trike!
I had read recently that B-Cycle was testing out trikes in their system, but never thought I’d actually see one. We mentioned it to the park staff when we went into the visitor’s center, who said it had been there all morning. We didn’t exactly rush through the mission to make sure it was still there when we were done, but, well, we kinda did.
We headed back to the trail on a more direct route, which took us on some surface streets, so I got to test the B-Trike on both city streets and the trail. The Mechanic pointed out that the wheels were barely wider than my shoulders, therefore it was not wider than a normal bike on the roads. Of course, those two back wheels being wider than we are used to, there were more than one near miss when the trike got too close to the edge of the trail or road.
Because the left tire was low and the wheel wasn’t trued, it felt a bit wobbly and hard to steer. It was hard to get used to not having a kickstand – and it did tend to roll if we stopped on not perfectly flat spots. It also has coaster brakes, which I am not used to. But the excitement of having the trike far outweighed any problems we had.
During one of my mini projects at the conference, we talked about how useful trikes would be in a bikeshare system to allow the elderly or disabled to be able to bike around and get some exercise. Now that I’ve ridden one, I really do think that including some of these would be a great way to market bikeshare to that population. We all know how important it is for people to continue to exercise as they age, so making trikes available means that anyone would be able to run errands without a car. The back basket adds a huge amount of carrying capacity to the front basket – I could easily do my grocery shopping with all this space. I would actually probably use a trike often, if Capital Bikeshare had them.
Yes, still excited about this – as you might guess! Getting to test out a B-Trike makes me feel very cutting edge (haha!) and convinces me that they need to be integrated into bikeshare systems everywhere. Way to go B-Cycle!