The launch of the Bay Area Bike Share program on Aug. 29 brought mixed feelings from the bike rental shops in North Beach.
“We are still analyzing membership data, and hope to release this information shortly,” wrote Laura Ruchinskas, marketing manager of Bay Area Bike Share, in an email.
It’s still too early to tell if the program has had an impact on local bike businesses but shops are aware of its presence.
Dylan’s Tours, a bike rental shop on the corner of Columbus Avenue and Greenwich Street, isn’t concerned about the program just yet.
“I could see it having an impact,” said Andreas Bloom, an employee at Dylan’s Tours. “But right now we aren’t thinking about it.”
“Mostly, the people from hostels in the area come to us because of the deals we have with those places,” Bloom said.
Across the street from the North Beach Library, covered in yellow, is the Columbus Cyclery – Go Bike It. A man with curly hair and an accent insisted on giving his opinions on the BABS.
“It’s a great thing,” said Bruno, the owner of Columbus Cyclery. “Less cars on the road.”
When asked about its impact on business he said, “It’s totally different. Those are more for short distances and flat ground.”
Bruno continued, “They don’t provide protective gear or locks.”
The busiest shop of the three, up the street from Columbus Cyclery, is Bike and Roll on the corner of Lombard Street at Columbus Avenue.
“Definitely. It’s so convenient; people won’t have to look around,” said Daniel de Lorimier, an employee at Bike and Roll. “I haven’t seen a huge impact but they’re taking business from us.”
“We might have to change our approach or numbers in the future,” de Lorimier said.
“There are a lot of benefits,” Abbott Sayre, an annual BABS member, said. “It’s faster than taking the bus and I get some exercise.”
“It serves everyone,” he continued.
If the pilot program succeeds, the San Francisco Bay Area could be looking at a future with more bikes and stations as it did with city bike-sharing programs introduced in cities such as Chicago, Seattle, Miami and New York City.