Sunday, November 22, 2015

Bike Store Changes in Chicago

J C Lind Bikes in Old Town, the cargo bike and Dutch bike specialist, let us know that they will have at least one Onderwater family tandem in the shop soon to try out before you and your kid(s) fall in love with it and buy it. See our tandem page about it, possibly the best kid and parent bike ever. That's 4 of us on one in the picture. Maybe you can still get an order in fast if you call now.

And Rapid Transit Cycleshop, a 21 year veteran of the Chicago bike scene and good place for recumbents and folding bikes but not cargo bikes, is closing its doors. You still have a couple of weeks, probably, to get a deal on their inventory or get a last minute repair, but only at their North Avenue and Wolcott branch. The one on Halsted and roughly Maxwell is already closed. Last chance for Brompton or tadpole parts! 

Comrade Cycles still stocks Brompton, and you can find parts they might not have from Harris Cyclery in Newton, MA. Check out the Pere/ItChair, still only (as far as we can tell) available from Milian Parts, the manufacturer, in Catalonia. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Heavy Riders on Bike Share Bikes

Bublr Bike Share in Milwaukee has no weight limit
We used to think the Divvy bike sharing program in Chicago was a good option for anybody, including heavy people, who wanted to ride a bit without making a huge commitment to purchase, storage and maintenance of a bike of their own. And it is - but there's a potential risk you should be aware of if you weigh more than 260 lbs fully dressed. Oddly, the same issue affects some other bike sharing programs worldwide while many others are not affected at all.

A few bike shares are listed in this blog, but not all of them!
Here is a list and map of bike sharing sites around the country and the world.

Many bike share systems enforce a weight limit:

Chicago's Divvy officially limits rider weight to 260 lbs with 17 lbs cargo in the rack. We called Divvy about it and they admitted the bikes can hold 'a whole lot' -- but there in the contract it says 260 lbs. Probably, realistically, even the Divvy people seem to admit that there is not much of an actual technical problem with higher weights (look at their sturdy bikes!) but it would violate the contract and certainly lead to liability if there were any issue.
"You must not exceed the maximum weight limit for the Divvy bicycle (260 pounds) or the cargo carrier (17 pounds), and You (sic) must not otherwise use the cargo carrier improperly with regard to type of contents or any visual obstruction or riding impediment."  (user agreement)

Boston's Hubway, like Divvy, limits riders to 260 lbs.
So I looked into similar bike share programs.

The same 260 pound weight limit was criticized in the New York Post among others in 2013 when New York City started its Citi Bike sharing program. In the end, the Department of Transportation said they wouldn't enforce it strictly, but it remains in their terms and conditions (see below) to limit the program's liability.

Most other programs that are run by Motivate (formerly known as Alta Bike Share)
, as Divvy and Citi Bike are, and that use the bikes from PBSC Urban Solutions Inc (Public Bike System) also have similar contractual restrictions, while other providers don't. Why would some programs limit rider weight while others don't? Motivate's programs include:
They all seem to contractually limit weight to 260 lbs, or its equivalent 115-120 Kg, which is no surprise since the manufacturer apparently warrants the bikes only to that load.

A few PBSC  or Motivate sites have no apparent limit, though they appear to use the same bikes:

Ireland's CocaCola Zero Bikes in Galway, Limerick and Cork are not Motivate brand, but also limit to 175 lbs/125 Kg.  (The CocaCola bikes in Belfast (Northern Ireland) are part of the Nextbike system and don't.)

Many many other sites worldwide have no weight limit: 

Trek's B-Cycle has many sites in North America, apparently without contractual weight limits (the contract comes after the website privacy policy on these sites):

The Nextbike system does not list a limit in any of the terms and conditions I've reviewed, and is used in

and about 125 other places throughout Germany, other parts of Europe, and worldwide.

I was not able to find any limit for Paris, France's Velib bikes.

The CallABike system used by the German railways limits items carried to 20 kg but has no apparent limit for the rider. This system is not active in the USA but encompasses bike share programs in Germany:


In general, it seems unlikely to us that any of these heavy duty bikes can be damaged by a heavy rider. But our opinion is not important -- look carefully at the user agreements and terms and conditions if you plan to ride while weighing over 260 pounds, and be ready to accept full liability for any problems if you weigh more!

If you do weigh more, we have a post on bikes for heavy riders on this blog.

See you out there.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Perfect City Bike Tour Weather

Ride your bike to Pilsen and check out the sights (here, a birria taco) before the weather changes!