Saturday, April 16, 2016

Because Going Green is easier when you have some

Hey look everybody, someone has found a way to make exercise more fun and accessable to wealthy people!

Seriously, here's the deal with Capital BikeShare:  you can take any of their bikes, from any rack, for 30 minutes absolutely free.  And you can do this as many times a day as you like.  Wow, that's awesome- what a terrific way to encourage people to get out of their cars and rediscover the benefits of moving their legs! Yay Capital BikeShare!

Except, hold on, dammit- turns out that there's fine print.  You'll need a credit card if you want to take any of those "free" bikes.  And it's going to cost you $8 for a 24-hour membership.  Ouch, you think- eight bucks for a bike?  Better look into this some more. Maybe you want one for a weekend?  That's $17.  Hey, that's not terrible- Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for $17....of course, unless you want to start paying additional fees, you'll have to get off that bike and get on another one (if you can find one) every thirty this isn't exactly the best option for that 30-mile roundtrip to Mount Vernon you had in mind, but....

Let's say you decide that you really want to spend a day on a bike, and you want to cruise around without stopping and constantly changing bikes every 30 minutes.  Ok- the next thirty minutes are going to cost you $1.50.  The next are going to cost you $4.50.  The official site doesn't tell you what the next thirty minutes cost, or how much you are going to get billed to your credit card if you keep the same bike out for, say, three hours, but my guess is that it will involve taking out another mortgage on your house.

(Ok, ok, I actually just checked- the cost would be $30.  Ugh.)

Oh but hey, there are discounts available if you are willing to make a small financial commitment to Capital BikeShare- if you take out an annual membership for only $85, you can save fifty cents on that $1.50 second half-hour fee, for example.  Can't afford that kind of money up front? No Problem, just get a Day Key for only $10, and $7 per day- either way you get all the benefits of that First 30-Minutes Free awesomeness!

Let's be honest, ok?  Capital BikeShare looks for all the world like it was conceived and birthed by a panel of twentysomething trust fund babies from Portland as a way to hit fellow one-percenters in the wallet by appealing to their social conscience and apparently inborn need to at least look like they are Doing Their Part To Save The Planet.  It certainly isn't for people who can't afford to drive or take the bus, which is why you would be justified in assuming that neckties come with the bikes when you take a quick visual survey of who is using the system.   Nice to know there's another option when it's nice outside and you just have to get to Whole Foods for another bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon before the guests start to arrive and you don't want to take the Audi out again.  Take that, global warming!

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