Follow @theurbancountry on Twitter Find us on Facebook Subscribe to via e-mail Subscribe to via RSS
Follow @theurbancountry on Twitter Find us on Facebook Subscribe to via e-mail Subscribe to via RSS

DC’s CaBi Out-Styles World of Bike Sharing 5


Barclays Cycle Hire photo courtesy of Claire Doble / Visit London Blog

DC’s new CaBi (Capital Bikeshare) program might fall short of Paris or Montreal’s bike sharing systems, but when it comes to fashion, Capital Bikeshare out-styles the world of bicycle sharing.

The bright red bikes are easy to spot and appealing to the eyes. We took a look around the world to compare CaBi to a whole world of bike sharing.

Montreal BIXI

Montreal’s BIXI program – although less than two years old – is due for a facelift. Montreal’s BIXI program certainly has a pragmatic appeal to it, but CaBi makes BIXI’s grey colour seem rather dull. BIXI memberships are available for $78/year, $28/month or $5/day:


Photo by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country

Toronto BIXI

Toronto decided to take its characteristic, mundane, copycat approach by adopting Montreal’s BIXI bikes and simply slapping on some blue “City of Toronto” paint on them. Toronto didn’t even have the dexterity to come up with its own branding for the bike share program. If the plan goes through in 2011, a Toronto BIXI membership will cost $95/year, $40/month or $5/day.


Photo courtesy of “Biking in a Big City

Melbourne Bike Share

Similar to Toronto, Melbourne chose blue for their bike sharing program. Melbourne on the other hand went with a less bland blue colour than Toronto, and even displayed more creativity than Toronto by naming their system “Melbourne Bike Share”. A membership for Melbourne’s system costs only $50/year, $8/week or $2.50/day.


Photo courtesy of Dave from Australian Cycling Forums

Barclay’s Cycle Hire

What can we say about the Barclays Cycle Hire grey-on-dark blue corporate-branded bike? Practical and efficient? Yes. Visually appealing? That’s debatable. A Barclay’s membership costs ~$71/year, $8/week or $1.60/day.


Photo courtesy of Claire Doble / Visit London Blog

Paris’ Vélib

The Vélib’ system is more “rounded” than the BIXI-style bikes, but the grey colour isn’t very appealing, and they blend in nicely with the concrete. The basket on the other hand is most useful. You can buy a Vélib membership for ~$40/year, ~$7/week, or ~$1.40/day.


Photo courtesy of la vie sans télé (ou presque)

Nice Ride Minnesota

Nice Ride Minnesota adopted the BIXI-style bicycles with an interesting and creative brand on these green bikes. For only $60/year, $30/month or $5/day, you could have your own “nice ride”.


Photo courtesy of world of daveymac 

Denver B-Cycle

Any criticism for the Denver B-Cycle bicycle is quickly counterbalanced by its practical, heavy-duty front basket. Denver’s B-Cycle program is also significant because it is regarded as “the first large-scale municipal bike sharing system in the United States”. Memberships cost $65/year, $30/month, $20/week or $5/day.


Photo courtesy of Brian Russell / Flickr

Shanghai “Forever”

While in Shanghai, we rented these “Forever” bikes for ~50 cents for an entire day. They came with built-in wheel locks, so returning them to stations wasn’t necessary. We rode them for more than 8 hours around that city of 20 million people.


Photo by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country

Lyon’s Vélo’v

Here is a Lyon, France “Vélo’v” bicycle – similar to Paris’ Velib bikes. Don’t you get the shivers when looking at these hideous colours? Memberships for Vélo’v cost ~$20/year, ~$4/week, or ~$1.40/day.


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Barcelona’s Bicing

Let’s not forget about Barcelona’s Bicing bike share program. Arguably the ugliest bike sharing bicycles in the world, these bicycles have been available for rent since March 2007 for only $41USD a year.


Photo courtesy of Joel Down / Flickr

Stockholm City Bikes

Rivaling only Barcelona’s Bicing on the ugliness scale, Stockholme’s City Bikes program costs ~$37/year or ~$18 for 3 days.


Photo courtesy of Xesc Arbona / Flickr

DC’s CaBi (Capital Bikeshare)

After looking at these other bike sharing bikes around the world, don’t these Capital Bikeshare bikes look most wonderful? You can buy a membership for only $50/year (limited time only), $25/month, or $5/day.



Photo by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country

Which bikes do you find most or least appealing?

James D. Schwartz is the editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at

Related Articles:

5 thoughts on “DC’s CaBi Out-Styles World of Bike Sharing

  1. Rudi Riet Oct 5,2010 7:36 pm

    Capital Bikeshare’s predecessor, SmartBike DC, used the same equipment as the systems in Barcelona and Copenhagen. I have a picture set that contrasts Capital Bikeshare and SmartBike DC, snapped the other week while both systems are still sharing DC’s space.

  2. James D. Schwartz Oct 5,2010 7:44 pm

    Neat photos Rudi. Some people on Reddit like those old school Barcelona/Stockholm/Copenhagen bikes. I’m not a big fan of the huge handle bars and little front wheel, but to each his own…

  3. jamesmallon Oct 6,2010 3:45 am

    I love the contrast of Toronto with Montreal, because it is consistent with everything else between the two: more expensive, less convenient, unoriginal, less faith in the public realm… Sigh.

  4. PaddyAnne Oct 9,2010 6:37 pm

    This was a fun trip around the world looking at the various bike-share programs – Thanks for putting this together!!

  5. daniel Dec 13,2010 5:08 am

    huh? once you get past the colour schemes, they’re mostly all the same design – Bixi.

Leave a Reply