It might take us a little bit to catch up to trends in Champaign-Urbana, but they trickle down eventually. I’ve seen shareable bikes in Chicago, and I’ve even rode them in Milwaukee. California is crawling with them! Now, however, they are increasing on our community’s residential streets.
Even though they are most popular on campus—this isn’t just a college thing. For example, just off Galen Drive in Champaign, by the abandoned Charter Fitness, there’s a bike rack full of the turquoise trikes.
This summer the Indiana company, VeoRide, contracted with our community for a fleet of 500 bikes.
Here’s the deal.
Each bike is equipped with GPS, has a self-locking mechanism on the back wheel and can be accessed with a phone app. Oh, and a cute basket!
First, download the app in your phone’s store. Quickly set up an account and add payment information. This is where you’ll be able to locate a bike on the map.
When you get to a bike, you need to scan the bike’s code or enter the ID number using the app. This will unlock the bike. Important: You can only unlock one bike per VeoRide account. However, you can use the same credit card for multiple accounts. According to its website, VeoRide is working on a solution to the one-bike, one-account situation.
Through the app, you can also invite friends and track trips (including calories). Coupons are available for inviting friends. Riders also pay through the app—VeoRide charges 50 cents for 15 minutes.
When you are finished, you need to find an appropriate place to park. Even though there aren’t “docks” exactly—bike racks are still encouraged. As a rule of thumb, just place the bike in a spot where a bike should be parked. Don’t block anything. Don’t put in the middle of a pedestrian path. In other words—use common sense! If you do see one parked improperly, you can contact the company to move it. It’s ultimately their responsibility. With that said, it’s frowned upon to put the bike on top of a parked car, in the middle of the street or inside a portable potty. These are all locations that went viral, by the way. Also, don’t put in the middle of my yard! We live on a visible street, and we had some issues with bikes in our yard. I called the company, however, and someone came and got the bike—quickly.
When you are in a good spot, you should pull the knot on the lock. Check your app, and you can make sure your ride has ended.
Riding is so fun, too! Grab a big kid if you have one. There are no little bikes rolling around—yet. You’ll never have to pump a tire again. Or search in your junk drawer for your lock’s key.
You’ll feel like a kid again. Think you forgot how? Well, it’s just like riding a bike …
Emily Harrington is a Chambana townie. She left her 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job in communications so that she could be a 24/7 mom to two busy boys. Still interested in writing, Emily uses some of naptime to practice her passion and keep her mind right. Emily is a happy wife with a happy life because she fell for a fellow townie. Emily usually finds herself engulfed in balls, blue and belly laughs.