Friday, June 24, 2011

Bixi bikes - walk up, pedal away

With nothing but pedal power needed, biking is the greenest mode of transportation in big cities.  But what if you are only visiting the city center? Bike rentals have been around for years, but recently, rentals are addressing the need for short, intermittent bike trips. One of the leaders in this movement is BIXI.

Strategically placed throughout various major cities are bike racks with a dozen or so bikes, locked in place. Using cash, credit cards or your Bixi key, you can obtain a rental code that will unlock a bike waiting near you.

When you are done riding, simply return the bike to the same or another BIXI bike rack and your rental is complete. Need it later in the day to get back to your hotel?  Just repeat the procedure and peddle back. 
Watch the video to get a better idea of the system in operation.

Presently, you’ll find BIXI bikes in Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa, London, Minneapolis  and Washington, DC.  Many more cities are on the drawing board. The bikes are available 24/7 from May to November. To make them even more convenient for the users, there are a couple apps that will allow you to check bikes before you even leave your door.

BIXOU and it’s little brother BIXOU LITE are indispensable for hunting down a bike and figuring how long it will take to get you there. Some of BIXOU’s features include:
  • Real time information on the status of all BIXI™ stations, including number of bikes and spaces.
  • Distance and estimated walk/cycle-time to any station, based on your current location.
  • Integrated mapping: See yourself and all surrounding stations on the map.
  • View options: Visualize stations in either Classic or Scaled mode
  • Search function: Finds stations by name and intersection.
  • Favorites tab: Keeps your bookmarked stations close at hand.
  • iPod Touch compatibility: Get real-time data over WiFi. Plus station data is saved locally so it can be viewed later, even offline.
You can contact the app’s software developer at or find the apps on the Internet at the iTunes store. Contact Public Bike System at for more information on the Bixi system.

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