I want to explain my feelings regarding the new bike sharing system we have in Barcelona. Just 5 months (or so) ago, the city started suplying bike stations, covering a big area in the city, where you (for a small annual fee: 24 €) can pick any available bike and ride towards your destination. The first ½ hour is free, and after that you start paying 30 cents per additional ½ hour.
As someone born and grown here I have to say I feel so civilized now. It’s like we are finally europeans!! There’s tons of users of this system. Cars and walkers have to be extra careful now not to crash against the new bike enthusiastics.
Of course there have been a number of problems with the software in the stations, and complaints of the users about the apparently not sufficient number of bicicles for everybody. Specially during peak hours. However the total number of members is steadly and rapidly growing.
One of the aspects of this new service that I personally like the most, is that it’s totally conceived for the locals. There’s no way a normal tourist or traveller can use it, as you need the member card that will be sent to your place at least after a couple of weeks of request. This might seem trivial to a foreigner, but hey! In a city living mainly for the visitors, and with a government too often thinking about the needs of the tourists and forgetting the needs of the people living here, it’s like a blow of fresh air.
The other thing that I actually find very atractive is realising that with the climate we so often enjoy, the mediterranean food, the olive oil, and now everybody using the bicicle to move in the city, we’re gonna live forever!!
Cheers to that!