One of the coolest things I saw in London was the Barclays Cycle Hire station with multiple locations all over the city. Sure, there was the Buckingham Palace, the Tower Bridge, the London Eye, but I’m just weird that way and a bike rental place does it for me. Wrocław is supposed to get it’s own bicycle rental station soon, hopefully more than just one, but it seems there are some issues pushing the roll out date further and further into the future.
However I have to admit I fail to see how a bicycle rental place will make sense in Poland. In London I saw hundreds of people zooming by on these very specific looking bicycles. A credit card machine at every station took your payment and the process as a whole seemed to work flawlessly. I hate to say it, but I think Poland is about 15 years away for such a simple and yet very necessary idea to work.
Theft and vandalism would be two big issues to ponder when thinking of opening a bike rental station. Moving on you have to have people renting them to make money and with Polish salaries being what they are I just don’t see the price of the rental dropping down to a comfortable medium between income and the price of the rental. To top it all off you need places to ride ’em. Wrocław is a beautiful city but getting around it is a nightmare. Roads suck, bicyclists have little to no rights on the road, and rental stations would have to be spread around enough to where you wouldn’t have to walk back for miles after returning the bike.
In other words, I don’t see it in Poland. But it’s great that it has been proven to work and I envy Londoner’s for having such a great system in place.
Below are a few photos of the rental station and a price screen shot from their official web site http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling