I live in Dublin City and I’ll often find myself in a situation where car, bus or Luas just doesn’t make sense. Bikes always make sense, until I’m behind the wheel of my car and I’m shouting at cyclists. In my defence, I also cycle and shout at motorists, so it goes both ways. But if you’re living in Dublin and, like me, you’re tight on space, what options are there for using a bike without owning on? Spoiler alert; the options are plentiful.
Dublin Bikes began back in 2009 and is Dublin Council’s own bike sharing system. Users sign up to the service and can then rent a bike from over 100 stations around Dublin. To use the service, you must be a subscriber, costing €25 annually. After you pay your membership, you’ll either be sent a Dublin Bikes card or you can link to an existing Leap Card. You may not pay another penny to use the service depending on how long you’ve borrowed a bike for. Here’s the full pricing scheme:
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As you can see, it’s a very cost-effective method of accessing a bike in Dublin without the worry of owning one yourself.
There are a few drawbacks. It’s somewhat common to head to a Dublin Bike station and find there are no bikes available, particularly during rush hour. Also common is to get back home to your local station and to find it full. Generally speaking, you should be able to find another spot handy enough, but still – it’s an inconvenience. The service also shuts down at 11.30pm, meaning you can only return bikes after this time, no more rentals.
You’ll find a very similar system to this in Galway, Cork and Limerick.
I sang the praises of Bleeper Bikes last year only for Dublin City Council to outlaw them, fearing they would cause havoc on Dublin’s footpaths.
Bleeper Bike is a privately run bike sharing scheme. What sets Bleeper Bike apart from Dublin Bikes is that there are no stations. Using the Bleeper Bike app, you can find a bike which has been locked up at a designated locking point for bikes in the Dublin area. This means you shouldn’t just go locking your Bleeper Bike to signposts or handrails. Instead, you need to make sure you lock it to a proper bike space, of which there are plenty in Dublin.
Bleeper Bike certainly offers some freedom that Dublin Bikes can’t offer. For example, if you live miles away from a Dublin Bike station, you might find a Bleeper Bike nearby. But ‘might’ is never a nice word to hear, is it?
The main drawback of Bleeper Bikes is also its strength; you can find them anywhere, but might also find none nearby. I was going to add that the price might be another drawback, but really that depends on how much you use the service. For €0.80 you can ride a Bleeper Bike for 60 minutes, but you can also pay €75 and get four, 60-minute rides per day, every day for a year. You can check out all the pricing on the Bleeper Bike site to see if it suits your needs.
After having their progress in Dublin slowed, Bleeper Bike looked at the rest of the country and is also available in Sligo.
Another popular provider of stationless bike sharing is Urbo. They’ve already set up in the UK but have also been granted the same permission to operate as Bleeper Bike. Little is known right now about what pricing they’ll offer, but watch these space; bike sharing is about to get good and competitive in Dublin.
Bike Sharing Accessories
With bike sharing on the up, there’s possibly a growing market for bike sharing accessories. One helmet manufacturer has found 92% of bike sharing cyclists don’t wear helmets so they went off and designed a flat-pack helmet you can always have in your bag. Eco Helmet is another company looking at this space, producing a foldable, paper helmet. Might sound mad, but it exists, look:
What do you think of bike sharing? Jump onto the comments below and let me know.