On Sunday, a beautiful glorious day of sunny skies and temperatures in the 50s, everyone was out and about. And that should have been my cue to use the Capital Bikeshare station at 14th and D SE rather than the one at Lincoln Park — which is super popular.
But I didn’t think of that. Nor did I think to check the system’s handy-dandy map, which would have told me there was just a single bike and a confrontation at Lincoln Park.
But one of the draws of the system is the ability to be spontaneous. So on that day, I decided to be. I walked to the station and saw some balding dude chatting up his ladyfriend around a certain object. That object, of course, was the bike I was pining after.
Me: Can I grab that bike?
Balding ugly dude: No, I’m “about” to use it. (emphasis mine)
Me: (Insta-scowl) Well you should probably take it out of the damn station then.
Balding ugly, jerk-face dude: (Stands there for 10 more minutes chatting while I glare at him the whole walk Eastern Market, my head on a swivel. Next time buddy, it’s gonna get real real).
Losing one’s cool is never recommended. But this is a justifiable offense. This is akin to standing in a parking space, saving it for your friend who may or may not be coming. The solution, ever so simple, would be for him to remove the bike from the station, then chat. Then the clock starts ticking on his rental, making him wrap his thrilling convo up. But while the bike is in the station, in my estimation, the bike is up for grabs.
This is petty. But this is only going to become more of an issue as the system grows more popular. The stations aren’t quite close enough to each other for it to be easy to just walk a block to an alternate station. It’s usually more like six blocks.
So let’s be reasonable. If you rent a bike, it’s all yours. But until you do, it’s mine, dammit.