01 July 2011

Tulsa Townies: An Un-Review

During a visit to Tulsa last week, my sister and I checked out the Tulsa Townies bike share program.  The program was started by one of the local hospitals and allows users to check-out a cruiser bike for free from any of four stations along the River Parks Trail. Bicycling Magazine has even listed Tulsa as one of their top-50 bike friendly cities because they have this program.

We started at the southern-most station, which happens to be located next to a Trek bike shop. There were no bikes in the rack and no signs telling us that there were supposed to be any bikes.  It was a sunny, hot day and, thinking that the bikes must be in use, we DROVE five miles to the next station along the trail to find some more.  The trail is fully visible from Riverside Drive, and while we did see a handfull of bronzed recreational cyclists and a family of bikes along the way, there were no pink townies.

The second station looked like this:

There were 13 empty locks on these racks. For a city of half a million people, there are (were?) maybe 50 townies floating around the city. Knowing this and craving a bike ride, we pressed on to the third station...

Success! There were two bikes in the rack, perfectly sized for me and my sister.

Here's where the frustration set in.  Bike #1 could not be removed because of "Card Error".  We tried two different credit cards and received the same message. And Bike #2? "Bike Not In Inventory."  Apparently there is a system upgrade coming soon to the Tulsa Townies program.  It obviously needs it. 

Looking to cut our losses, we drove in to the ghost-town that is downtown Tulsa on a Sunday, in search of something to make this car journey worthwhile.  We stumbled upon Dwelling Spaces, an oasis with a decent coffee bar and gift shop with bike-Tulsa themed T's and stuff, as well as left-over jerseys and cowbells from the recent Tulsa Tough bike races.  After talking with the baristas, is sounds like there certainly some enthusiasm for bikes in Tulsa. Hopefully it will be more apparent to us on our next trip. 


Tom Cooper Member of Tulsa Townies LLC said...

Thanks for your interest in the Tulsa Townies. I am sorry you were disappointed. At the apparent time of your visit, a press release had been issued announcing a completely new system for Tulsa that is currently under construction. The technology is similar to the DecoBike system in Miami Beach. In the interim we had tried to keep the old system operating for as long as possible, which is what you saw. We are pleased that tens of thousands of people have been able to enjoy the old system, and look forward to providing an improved, free system to locals and visitors in the future. Please try us again!

Matt in Tacoma said...

Thanks for the quick update, Tom! We're looking forward to riding in Tulsa on our next visit. Cheers! - Matt

Mom on the run said...

Another fine example of why you need to visit Denver: B-cycle!