BIXI at the Byward Market, May 2013
BIXI at the Byward Market, May 2013

It’s prime tourist season here in Ottawa, and with the nice weather, the “Capital BIXI” are back on the road—the stations had been removed during winter time when only hardcore Canadians dare to bike.

There are racks of red bikes ready to be borrowed all across the downtown core—but I can’t say they are very popular. I snapped this shot close to the Byward Market and the BIXI docks seemed to be full, i.e. none of the bicycles was rented out.

Apparently, you need a credit card to rent them, which may be a problem for people who do not necessarily have a credit card, especially foreign tourists. You also need to leave a $250 deposit, which seems a bit too much for a bike…!

I’d rather walk or take the bus—I still think Canada wasn’t built for bicycles and riders, unlike some European countries.

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  1. Dennation June 9, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    I don’t think the issue is that Canada wasn’t physically built for bicycles and riders, it’s more that the culture itself wasn’t built to accept bicycles and riders. There’s loads of room in Canada and more cycle paths could be built.

    The issue is that people in Canada don’t grow up with the idea that cycling can be a viable transport option. You’re expected to get a car as soon as you get a job that pays you enough to buy a car. People that don’t have a car are “weird”. People who choose to cycle to work or school are even “weirder”. My mother’s response when I told her that I would be relying on my bicycle as my main means of transportation? “You’re 30 years old and you’re still riding a bicycle around?! Don’t you think it’s time to buy a car? Bikes are for kids!”

    But, yeah, the winters and bad public transport options don’t exactly make things any easier…

    I have a friend coming here to visit from Ottawa. She would really like to rent a bike here, but guess what? There is no public bicycle sharing programme in Copenhagen! There was one in place a few years ago, but it had to be stopped because too many bikes were being thrown in the river. (The deposit was 20 kr or 2.70 euros so no wonder the bikes disappeared!)

    They bikes look really nice and shiny. I wish I could have a good bike in France, but I don’t dare buy an expensive one as it would get stolen. I “drive” an old wreck.

    1. Zhu June 9, 2013 at 9:25 pm

      One thing that always surprises me in Ottawa is the number of bikes stolen. Considering how safe and friendly Canada is, you wouldn’t expect it! I mean, I do leave my laptop on the table when I need to use the bathroom at Starbucks…!

      You are right though, Canada developed a strong car culture and people don’t think of alternative modes of transportation.

      1. Dennation June 10, 2013 at 8:41 am

        It’s true that a lot of bikes are stolen in Canada. I wonder why that it is?

        My brother locked his bike to the fence beside the Swiss Chalet and the next day it was gone.

        I can’t believe you leave your laptop out at Starbucks! I wish I could do that in France. There is just no way I could do that.

        Denmark’s another story, though. It feels so much like Canada here in many ways.

        1. Zhu June 10, 2013 at 10:21 am

          I do pay attention to my surroundings and to the people, etc. basic safety tricks. But I am pretty relaxed in Ottawa and yes, when I used to freelance from a coffee shop, I used to leave my laptop and bag for a few minutes. People around me did the same, never had any problem!

          Ottawa is so safe that I always find it strange so many bikes are stolen. And I keep on hearing the same story over and over again, locked bikes disappearing, even when left for only a minute or so.

  2. Jennie June 10, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    $250 is way too much for a deposit!

    1. Zhu June 10, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      I think so too.


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