Free ColumBike Demo
Updated: Jun 26, 2019
Many people have seen the new ColumBike kiosks located around Columbus and wondered how exactly they work. To encourage people to give it try, Healthy Communities hosted a free demonstration outside CRH (Columbus Regional Health) for employees to test the bikes for free as well as to learn the "dos and don'ts" renting one. Another free bike demo will be hosted at the same location on July 19th from 11am to 1pm.
Below, we compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions so that the whole community can read up on what they should know about renting a Columbike.
1. How much does it cost?
The kiosk shows us that a 24-hour accessibility period costs $8, but failure to keep reading the instructions can cost you. After your $8 is paid, you have 30 minutes to use the bike before check-ins are required every half hour. After the first missed check-in, riders are charged $2. Each subsequent missed check-in costs $4.
Example: You rent a bike ($8) at 10:00. You have not checked in back in at 10:30 (+$2) or at 11:00 (+$4) for a total charge of $14 at that point.
A membership costs $80 and is good for one year. The $80 fee covers your initial $8 fee for the year, so, using the bike more than ten times would save you money. The membership does not wave late check-in fees for members. However, the membership does allow for a 2 hour check-in-free period between 11am-1pm each day. Perfect for going to lunch! Your membership also allows you access to many other BCycle bike share programs in the United States.
2. How does it work?
These kiosks require a credit card. No cash can be accepted. You can go to a kiosk with bikes present and follow the check-out instructions on the touch screen. Users have said that checking out rental bikes in Columbus is faster and easier than in some major cities! After check-out, you have access to a bike for 24 hours (abiding by the 30 minute check-in requirement), and it doesn't have to be the same bike for the full 24 hours. So, for example, if you use a bike at 4pm and return it at 4:45pm, then the next day you can check out a different bike from any kiosk in Columbus within the 24-hour time frame that your $8 guarantees.
Tip: Never use your card to check a bike out for someone else who offers you cash. The purpose of using a credit card is that late fees can be charged to a credit card associated with each specific bike. If someone else accumulates charges while checked out in your name, you will be charged.
3. How much time do I have?
The short answer is that $8 buys you 24 hours. However, to maximize use of the bikes, Columbike requires check-ins every 30 minutes. This means that you must bring your bike to any kiosk within 30 minutes of your check-out time to keep the bike for another 30 minute period. This is required for the duration of your 24-hour access to maximize the number of bikes being used at any given time.
4. Where are all the stations?
A map illustrating where each Columbike kiosk is can be found here.
5. What does a membership allow me to do?
An $80 membership earns you access to the bikes for a full year. It does not wave late check-in fees. One special members-only perk is that members can check out a bike between 11am and 1pm without check-ins! For anyone else taking a bike out from 11am to 1pm, it would cost them $8 upfront, plus $2 at 11:30, plus $4 at 12pm, plus $4 at 12:30 pm... $18 for a two hour ride with no check-ins that members can have access to every day with a membership. Your membership also allows you access to many other BCycle bike share programs in the United States.
6. What do I do if I want to return my bike but the station is full?
You can indicate that the station is full on the kiosk's touch screen. It is not your fault if the kiosk is full and you need to check your bike in! Someone will be notified of the issue and will come get the bike. In general, this will likely not be an issue because there are employees that work to keep the bikes evenly distributed in Columbus.
7. What if I want to wear a helmet?
Making helmets available to everyone is an idea still being discussed. Some people worry about how sanitary that might be, so some cleaning options are also being investigated. It is suggested that, for now, riders bring their own helmets with them when riding a bike.
8. What are the beeps I am hearing?
The bikes beep every 6 seconds. This is not to alert the rider of anything important, it is just the sound of the bike's location being tracked so that Columbike can keep track of all sorts of data: average riding speed, location, mileage, etc.
Check out Columbike here on Facebook!