Dorkbike Arrival in DC

washington dc by wayan
Photo by Wayan

Clear Channel’s SmartBike program has officially started, but before you cheer, realize its not for you.

With dork bikes not even a tween would touch, and no provisions for helmets or locks, this is not a system designed for success.

This is a opening day photo op followed one lone frequent user: Pee Wee Herman.

Married, mortgaged, and soon to be a father, Wayan Vota is in the fast lane to mid-life respectability – until the day his brood finds his intimate journal of global traveling and curses him with the ever-eternal reply “I’m gonna be just like you, Dad!”

13 thoughts on “Dorkbike Arrival in DC

  1. That’s exactly what I was thinking when I passed the bike stand out side Foggy Bottom – they do look hideous. But sometimes that becomes a statement in itself – look at the Scion xB. Also – the only way to get one is via an annual membership, so its useless for tourists.

  2. Thinking about it more, I say these are a hazard to the supposed target audience – downtown office workers.

    First, bicycles are banned from downtown sidewalks, so they’ll be in the mix of city traffic. Then without baskets, people are either going to have bags hanging off handlebars or try to steer one-handed. Finally, without helmets, any accident with that mix of over-stressed drivers and wobbly bikers, will be catastrophic.

    Looks like WABA better start stocking up on Ghost Bikes.

  3. Well call me Pee Wee, I LIKE the highboy look. That rear tire shield is hideous, but the tall handlebars are cool in a retro way.

    The lack of helmets is indeed an issue, though I wouldn’t be real excited to share head lice with my fellow Washingtonians either….

  4. the reason, as Wayan should know why the OLPC is hideous green… is to deter theft and/or reuse by unauthorized parties. We’re not going to be getting Giant/Motobene/Specialized bikes, because they’d get stolen. Plus these hideous things, which I agree, are pretty simple to maintain (they look like a fixed gearing system – aka useless on hills). I think ClearChannel spent more on the new bus shelters (since they can smack their ads all over them) than their bikes and storage/rent system. Typical….

  5. Exactly David.

    These SmartBikes are a pure pander to DDOT’s hope for a multi-transport system. And a weak pander at that. Three reasons why its not gonna pass the commuter & downtown crowd:

    1. No locks, but if the bike is stolen – $240? No riding to a store then, just SB to SB spot.

    2. No helmet is a hospital trip waiting to happen.

    3. No basket? So even if you do go to a shop, how you gonna carry things?

    And only one reason its not gonna work for tourists:

    1. Several weeks to sign-up & only online. Not very walk-up friendly.

  6. Quit with the negativity already! I am signing up. DC is almost the perfect sized city, but there are some jumps I want to do that aren’t well-served by metro and are just that bit too long for walking (eg. Dupont to U&14th). In steps dork-bike. Yep it doesn’t serve everywhere yet, but hopefully it will expand.

  7. Where do you get $240? The no-return price listed on the contract is $550 and the faq echoes that.

    What happens if my bike is lost or stolen?
    During the time you rent the bike, you are responsible for the bike. A fee of $550.00 will be billed if you do not return the bike within 24 hours after the designated rental period or if the bike is otherwise damaged, lost or stolen

  8. Also, in Google cache:

    “What happens if I lose the bike?
    During the time you rent the bike, you are responsible for it. A fee of $250.00 will be billed if you don’t return the bike within 24 hours after the designated rental period or if the bike is otherwise damaged, lost or stolen.”

  9. Pingback: Vox Populi » Smartbike DC hits the streets today; a great deal if you can find one