I’ve been in Glasgow for a few days, and the bikeshare system has allowed me to explore a bit more of the city that I could have on foot.
First step: getting a bike. I noted that Tammy Thorne had reported some issues with the bikeshare system on the Dandyblog, so I prepared by loading the Nextbike app. Here is one of the bikeshare stations.
If you have the app, you can scan the QR code on the bike and it will let you know if it is available for rental. This seemed to work better than manually keying in the number on the phone or the keyboard on the bike. The app responds by giving you the combination to the lock.
and we’re off. Here is the bike on one of the pedestrian and bike bridges across the Clyde. It is a chunky bike with a Shimano 3 spd Nexus hub, but it strikes me as being less heavy than our bikeshare bikes in Toronto.
There are some nice paths along the north side of the river. In some sections, there are separate paths for pedestrians and cyclists. Here it is multiuse.
To get around some buildings, the path sometimes becomes a glorified sidewalk.
Approaching the Transport Museum, which was designed by the late Zaha Hadid.
The museum holds a sample of everything on wheels, plus some models of ships. I’m going to concentrate on the bikes.
Unfortunately, many of the bikes were suspended on a round track that was hung from the ceiling.
You could use a touchscreen display to get descriptions and pictures of each bike, but it wasn’t the same as being close up to them. I guess the advantage is that you can provide text in different languages, and that you could provide more text than on a static display, but it was a little disappointing none the less. Here are a Moulton and Raleigh 20 on the track.
A USS recumbent dating from the 30’s.
A display of trikes, with a Windcheetah in the foreground.
A vintage tandem trike on the same display. The front person has the option of not pedaling, and just using the footrests.
A view out the front of the building, with a huge wall of cars to the right. The same complaint applies to the cars: you can’t see them very well.
From another angle.
A special edition Raleigh chopper that was released for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. It didn’t sell very well. Perhaps the really heavy mag wheels had something to do with it.
A display of touring bikes. You could object to the fact that 2 out of five were not human powered, but one of the two motorbikes was used by Ewen McGregor, so I guess that’s OK.
This is allegedly a model of the first working bike in the world. Made in Scotland, naturally.
Finally, the thing that I really wanted to see was the replicas of Graeme Obree’s bikes.
One had the original narrow bars meant to be under the rider’s chest, and the other featured the extended superman position. Both positions were banned by the UCI.
Here is a shot of the narrow bars, with my hand barely in front of them, to get a sense of just how narrow these are.
Overall, I was underwhelmed by the Obree display as the replicas were rather crude, with no attempt to show the ultra narrow Q factor or the special cranks that the real bike had.
Nevertheless, it was a fun visit, doubly so because I got there by bike. Here I am biking back as the weather turned rainy.
These wayfinding signs were helpful, with timings given for both cyclists and pedestrians.
It was often difficult to tell if a given sidewalk was part of a bike route. It was more clear where the pavement was a special colour, such as red which seemed to indicate multiuse.
Elsewhere, blue signage was helpful.
When you return a rental bike, you just pull up to a bike station, lock the bike and then indicate the return on the app. One thing is that if you are on a roaming data plan, it would be inadvisable to keep the app running for the whole time that you have the bike. If you turn off the app after you check the bike out, it is helpful to note the combination beforehand, especially if you plan to lock up the bike during your rental period. I got into the habit on taking a screen cap as soon as I rented a bike.
When you return the bike, relaunch the app and it will figure out where you are.
Note that this screen is also providing you with the lock combination. Press return, and then you can select the actual location where you are doing the return. You will be rewarded by this screen.
The app also lets you review your rentals to make sure all your returns were successful.
On our second day in Glasgow, the weather was much better and it was great to see so many people out and about on the two main pedestrian streets downtown: Buchanan and Sauciehall.
A cool non US model Cannondale with small wheels and a kid seat.
This is Mitchell St, which runs parallel to Buchanan but one short block west. This street seemed to be used for loading into the backs of buildings that fronted on Buchanan.
The pedestrianization of a good deal of downtown has transformed these streets into a big, outdoor shopping mall. There was definitely a huge amount of foot traffic, but I’m not sure that this would be the best model for revitalization. I would hope that the second floors and above of the buildings would be given over to offices and such so that employment as well as retail activity could anchor downtown.
More Glaswegians enjoying the sun. You might wonder about the slogan posted in many places: “People Make Glasgow”. Well I must say that everyone we’ve met in Glasgow has been very friendly!
Some flaggers in the Merchant City district, practicing for a street festival that starts tomorrow. This section of the city had pavers put down in 2011, and it gives this area a distinct character, along with all the old buildings with their impressive stonework.
and here are two Dutch bikes belonging to the owners of a very cool jewelry shop, with one of them trying to get out of the picture.
All in all, an enjoyable visit, but all too brief. I also went by a special bike shop, but I’ll write that up in a separate post.