Freesteel Blog » Call-a-bike


Sunday, December 3rd, 2006 at 10:54 pm Written by:

The weather was excellent in Frankfurt. The walk between the hotel on the south side of the river and the Messehalle where Euromold was held took about 40 minutes. Martin and I used this route, which was slower than taxi on the way there, but faster on the way back when there was a crowd of suits at the taxi stand all queuing at the same time to join the traffic jam across the city.

Our journey would have been faster had we been able to register for the call-a-bikes that were parked around the city, leaning against lamp-posts or railings within sight of any junction. The deal is that when you find a bike with a green flashing light, you telephone its serial number to get the unlocking code, wherein you are charged 1 Euro every 15 minutes until you park it and phone up to report which two roads you’ve parked it on. You are fined 5 Euros if you don’t park it in the right place. You must be a German resident to register for the scheme, so that had us stuffed, sadly.

Still, it looks like it’s getting there. A proper system would be to have a telephone and GPS built into the bike, with its batteries recharged by the hub dynamo (which these full suspension bikes were equiped with) so all you’d need to do is plug a USB key containing your details into the relevant socket, and away you’d go. If you happened to need a bike, your phone, knowing your location, would guide you to the nearest one. The system could even predict the demand rates to pay people to leave bikes in what are about to be useful locations. So in the future when all the suits swarmed out of the Messehalle, there would already be an endless row of high tech bikes for them to hop onto.

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