When I went to Copenhagen, Denmark many moons ago they had a program all throughout the city where bicycles were locked up available for anyone to use. You had to put a coin deposit to unlock the bike, but when you locked the bike back up at any other stand, you got your coin refunded.
Last year Miami Beach instituted a similar program, although not nearly as generous. Decobike has put bicycle stands all over the island. It is not in as communal a spirit as the Copenhagen program, as instead of a coin you need to insert a credit card as a deposit
But the positives include that the bicycles are very well maintained and you don’t have to worry about the thieves lurking in the shadows looking to snatch your bike. They even have a deal where if you’re a Miami Beach resident you can get unlimited access to the bikes for a flat fee. But there is a catch. You can only use the bicycles for a half hour at a time. Then you have to find a Decobike stand, plug the bicycle back in, and check it out again.
I suppose it makes sense as it ensures there are always bikes available, but man it’s stressful. You go on a Sunday bike ride, you get lost in thought, and then you realize it’s 2:22. And you checked the bike out at 1:55. You look for a stand, dodging tourists, and taxis rushing through red lights, but you make it, you saved your credit card from being charged again.
Time is money and the difference between America and Denmark is here we want lazy bike rides to remind you of that fact.