Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Melbourne Bike Share on Coxy's Big Break

Melbourne Bike Share has been shown on Coxy's Big Break, an Australian TV show.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Cycling over the Westgate Bridge with 3 speeds & a 12kg bike.

As many of you may know, yesterday was the annual Melbourne Summer Cycle, which is run by MS Australia.

I have been cycling in this event for a number of years with a close friend who has a family member that suffers from Multiple Sclerosis.

Sadly this year I was cycling solo. But cycling solo isn't a bad thing, infact it allowed for an interesting opportunity; Why not take one of the Melbourne Bike Share bikes and do the 40k try cycling over the Westgate Bridge on that?

And thats exactly what I did.

Waking up at 5 and having a quick breakfast I drove into the city and parked near Melbourne Uni (which has a bike share station on Tin Alley). Getting the bike is easy enough, test the bell, check the gears and lights, attach my MSC entrent number (#5) and use my membership key to undock the bike.

After that, it was just a matter of cycling to the starting point and waiting until the ride started.

Below are a few photos from the event:

6:30AM, waiting to be called to the starting point.

6:50, Getting ready.

7:10, You can see the Hot Air Balloon's in the sky.

They never cover that sign up!

The travel log from the ride.

Video of going over the Westgate.

All in all, the ride went well - granted I did need to take longer stops then usual at 2 of the rest points. It was great talking to other cyclists who were stuned by someone cycling on a bike with only 3 gears and on the home stretch where people were shaking their heads in disbelief!

But I've proved it can be done and next year, I may take up the challange of it again. If you're interested, let me know!

Also, you can still donate to MS Australia, the donation page is here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How I got data for Brisbane's CityCycle system.

The CityCycle system is based on a REST API which uses XML to display data.

The data can easily be parsed in languages such as PHP using the simplexml function.

CityCycle only uses 2 URLs to get information,

The first one is: https://abo-brisbane.cyclocity.fr/service/carto
Which provides you with an XML list of all stations, the station number, longitude and latitude and if the station is open or not.

The other URL is:

Where "X" is the station number. (eg. stationdetails/52 which will display data for the Brunswick St Mall / Wickham St station)

Here is some sample PHP code that I've used in my KML creation scripts:

// Sample script by Adrian Lodders (http://BikeShare.Tel, http://CycleHire.Tel, http://CityCycle.Tel)
$xml = simplexml_load_file('https://abo-brisbane.cyclocity.fr/service/carto') or die("Error: Unable to connect to the City Cycle Station Feed.");
$i = 0;
foreach ($xml->markers->marker as $item){
$name = $xml->markers->marker[$i]->attributes()->address;
echo "$name<br/>";

The script above will call the XML list of all stations, then display all names of each station until its gone through the whole list.

With this, its possible to use the station and its number in conjunction with an AJAX script to get the individual station data (rather then calling it all at once).

Anyway, I hope this helps.
Adrian Lodders

(ps. I didn’t test to see if the script above works cause its 12:21AM and daylight savings is about to kick in!)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

BikeShare.Tel - .Tel of the Week and Interactive Maps!

BikeShare.Tel has had an interesting few weeks, firstly the site won Telnic's .Tel of the Week and has been promoted world wide and an example of what can be achieve with .tel domains and has also been seen by the RACV's General Manager and the City of Melbourne as an example of community support.

(For more information about .tel, you can visit datahive's .tel registration page.)

BikeShare.Tel now also has interactive maps for Android, iPhone and Blackbarry users!

Just go to BikeShare.Tel and click on "Android/iPhone/Blackbarry Users - Interactive Maps. "

Sunday, June 20, 2010

First sighting of damage.

Sooner or later, we were going to see damage to the bikes, but I never expected to see damage this quickly.

As you can see the left hand peddle has broken off – I’ll assume accidentally as the peddle was left with the bike. I was interested to see if the rider who last used the bike bothered to press the maintenance button to alert the Melbourne Bike Share team to the issue.

Sadly, when I used my key and the bike was released to me, then imminently returned with maintenance alerted. It’s unfortunate that the bike was damaged but I find it hard to describe how silly it is that the person who used it last didn’t just press the maintenance button to have the problem resolved for all users of the system.

I do realise its still a new system and people are still learning how to use it but the instructions about damaged bikes is displayed on the handlebar...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

BikeShare.Tel now has a Bike Availability Feature!

BikeShare.Tel now has the ability to show you how many Bikes are available for use. It also allows you to see if there are any Free Docks at a station, so if you intend to ride somewhere you’ll know if you’re able to park.

Hopefully this means that you won’t ever need to use the extra 15 minutes option!

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Difference of Opinion...

Its been interesting, reading blogs and seeing the views that are being shared, the major concerns so far are:

- Lack of Urban Density
- The system being political spin.
- The cost of journeys being higher then that of public transport.
- And the need for Helmets!

Urban Density hasn’t been seen as that large of an issue but Sara Phillips, writing for the ABC has mentioned that Melbourne, unlike a number of European countries does not have the same urban density that has allowed other bike sharing systems to be as successful as they are.

The cost of journeys being higher then that of public transport!
At present the system is meant to be for short trips across the city, because of this the cost of riding does increase dramatically after the first 30 minutes. The issue here is that outside of the CBD, Melbourne is quite large. For example if someone wanted to cycle from the Docklands to St. Kilda - the trip would go beyond the free 30 minute timeframe.

The Melbourne Urbanist has suggested that changing the fee structure would promote longer journeys and increase participation with tourists. Another suggestion would be to average the typical time between two stations and if the ride is beyond the standard 30 minute time frame, allow for the system not to penalise the rider when the bike is returned.

And the biggest issue that people appear to be concerned about is the fact that a helmet is required.
It appears that people believe this is the largest hurdle that will determine the success of the Melbourne bike sharing system. Unfortunately, laws in relation to the rental of helmets means that people need to buy or bring their own helmet to ride.

Once again The Melbourne Urbanist suggested that only Victorians should be required to wear helmets. There has also been suggestions that helmets should not be required when using the bike sharing system.

The Age has written that the helmet law will act as a positive deterrent stopping non-cyclists from using the system and allowing drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists to remain safe.

My suggestion would be to change the laws in relation to the rental of helmets, at present helmets need to be inspected before another rider can use it. It would be far better to have a program similar to the Test and Tag system most businesses in Australia use as part of their OH&S policy.

For example, instead of inspection after each use - it would be better for helmets to be inspected during predetermined intervals, identified with a barcode/serial and logged. A automated helmet rental system can then be implemented and allow for a greater uptake of impulse riding.

If anyone has any other ideas, I would love to hear them.