Taking a spin with Spin

After running a few errands on foot yesterday afternoon, I wandered my way through the neighborhood on my return trip home. I was making my way past a popular playground park when I spotted this:

Spin bike at park

This, my friends, is a Spin bike.

Spin is one of two private bike share companies (the other is LimeBike) that launched services in Seattle this month. They’re easy to identify: Spin bikes are bright orange and LimeBikes are bright green/yellow. Both bikes are equipped with front baskets, kickstands and locking devices.

You need a smart phone to download an app and a credit/debit card to use either bike share. The apps help you locate nearby bikes, unlock them and pay for your ride ($1 for thirty minutes). This screenshot shows the distribution of Spin bikes in West Seattle at this moment. As you can see, most of them are clustered along the waterfront.

Spin map

I had downloaded both apps earlier this week in anticipation of trying out these bikes, so I was ready to ride when I discovered the Spin bike at the park. I scanned the barcode to unlock the bike, paid for my ride and took off for a test ride. My ride lasted for about twenty minutes and here are my quick observations:

  • The bike is easy to use but the 3-speed gearing isn’t low enough for Seattle hills. Spin is aware of this and promises lower gears on its next round of bikes in the city.
  • I like the convenience of parking the bike almost anywhere at the end of my ride (public bike racks or on the sidewalk out of the way of pedestrian traffic).
  • With good citywide coverage, these bikes will make good options for spontaneous short trips.
  • Downside: Not everyone has smart phones or credit/debit cards in order to use the system.
  • Downside: Unless you travel with bike helmet in tow, you’ll probably violate our local helmet law when you ride of these bikes.

Will I take a spin with Spin again? You bet. I’m also looking forward to trying out a LimeBike soon.

spin bike 2

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4 thoughts on “Taking a spin with Spin

  1. Tyrannosaurus Fir

    I’m thrilled at the ubiquity of the new bike shares, Louise. The fiasco of Pronto is becoming a distant memory (although I’d suppose as Seattle residents we’ll be paying for it one way or another until the equipment gets passed onto another enterprising municipality?). Now, it’s difficult to travel around the central city without spotting a bike on every block. There’s frequently a LimeBike parked on my side-street, even. My oldest and I’ve started hatching an upcoming plan to tour a wide swath of the city by combination of foot and bike share but it didn’t occur to me if there’s an age limit on the bikes. Hopefully not, or Adam will be sorely disappointed.

    Hope you’re having a good summer over in West Seattle.

    -Jason

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    Reply
    1. louise_inbtween Post author

      I like how quickly they’re spreading too! I sometimes take a peek at the apps just to see where how far they have spread out. Love your idea to use the bikes to tour the city–sounds like a future blog post! šŸ˜‰

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      Reply

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