For me, the best part of any day includes a bike ride. I’m was attending a conference in Phoenix and I was thrilled to find out that they have a bike share program. When we got there though, I didn’t see any bike stations. I concluded that it must not have been successful, and I didn’t really think about it. Then I was on a bus about to get a tour of downtown Phoenix when my mom who was traveling with me texted me a picture of the green bikes.
The bus was about to take off and I found myself madly looking for the website and app. I was frantic for about five minutes listening to the tour director talk and feeling like I should just jump off the bus and get on a bike. I was setting up an account when I was prompted with an alert that the email was taken by another user? But it was my email and user name on the screen. Confusion washed over me. I asked for a reset on a password and lo and behold it was the SoBi bike system which I guess I’ve used in other cities. Is that when I was in Minneapolis? No. Or was it Columbus? No again. I know it’s not Chicago’s Divvy, since that system has its own app and it’s pay as you go. Turns out it was BikeTownPDX which makes sense since that’s one I pay a monthly membership. Suddenly I search for the app which I have and I get it all affirmed, anointed and otherwise confirmed and I’m in! It’s as if I won a million dollars! I decided to go for the week long membership since that seemed the most economical. Now in a perfect biketopia, my membership should have worked since I pay for BikeTownPDX. That’s $12 every month, so why isn’t it like a membership to L.A. Fitness or something? But that’s okay. It’s a bike.
Overall my stats look like this for the trip to Phoenix. I got a bike every day I was there, and this is what it looks like when you log in to your account. Our hotel was close to the conference and it seems like the bike stations were on the other sides of the streets. It wasn’t visible from the main drag.
In the essence of full disclosure, I’ve never used the bike share in Portland because I have my own bikes, so I ride from point to place. However, I think I will make the effort and take mass transit to the closest destination and give it a whirl. The SoBi systems are in many cites. Take a look at the list.
Grid extends to Scottsdale and Tempe. There are ample stations. I’m not sure about bike routes, but I can research that and I start planning a trip for January since I’m sure I’ll need to have a break from the rain at about that time.
The bikes were in great shape. I had plenty of room in the basket for my stuff. My only complaint has nothing to do with Sobi. I simply didn’t have enough time to go everywhere I wanted to go since I had to attend the conference. However, I loved my little rides.
Phoenix could use more bike lanes. They probably know this. There are some areas where the green boxing is pretty extensive. I was told that where the bike lane ends it becomes a sidewalk. Interesting. I always feel awkward being on a sidewalk when I’m on a bike. But there are some streets where it’s too dangerous and no one is interested in sharing the road. Next time I will know more and I’ll have more time to ride.
Phoenix has some spectacular murals too.
The weather in November is perfect. Seventy to 84 degrees makes it easy to ride when you first wake up through evening time. If there wasn’t a conference you know that would have been my plan.
One final thought. I came up a bike shop while I was wandering around. The Velo Bike Shop and Cafe. I shook hand with the owner Eric/Erik. They were getting ready for an event and I had to get to a conference session but they had me from the sculpture out front and the mural. I didn’t have time to go back and buy some souvenirs. Next time. Dear readers, wouldn’t you like to know more? I was impressed with Eric/k. He was great to chat with and I hope our paths cross again. I love the serendipity of riding around and stumbling upon both coffee and bikes. Behold the universe at work!
PDX and PHX have little in common when it comes to climate. All that said, it’s a great city and I enjoyed pedaling around seeing the sights.
Thanks for reading.
Until next time. Keep riding and stay safe!