A friend of mine mentioned recently that he was going to Dublin, and would be running and racing around the city centre for the day. I suggested that he use bikes from the Dublin bike hire scheme to get around quickly and easily. He replied ‘sure I wouldn’t know where to start with them yokes’
Yesterday I was in Dublin and decided to make use of the bike hire scheme and document it for my friend. He is the type who would use the phrase ‘I’m up from the country myself’ to explain to irate taxi drivers why he is constantly in the wrong lane or driving the wrong way up a one way street. I put myself in his shoes for the day and here is how I got on.
I decided to park at the Red Cow ‘park and ride’ facility as this is the first point of contact with public transport that many people from ‘the country’ have within ‘the big smoke’.
You must take note of your parking space number and pay at a pay station beside the Luas platform before leaving the car park. €2 for 4 hours or €4 for 24 is good value.
I then went to another machine and purchased a ticket for the Luas. €4.60 for a return ticket to the city centre again seemed like good value.
Within 3 minutes a Luas train came along and I was soon on my way in towards ‘town’, as the locals call it.
15 minutes later as we approached the stop at St. James’ hospital I noticed a Dublin Bikes stand and hopped off. This is exactly what my friend would have done. He would not have looked at the website beforehand and has a phone designed solely to ‘make and take calls’ as he says himself, so the app would be of no benefit to him either.
Approaching the stand I noticed it was not credit card enabled, so I would not be able to begin the hire process here. I looked at the map which proclaimed that a red square would show me where ‘anseo’ was and I could then find the nearest credit card enabled station in relation to my current location. Unfortunately, the map did not stretch as far as St. James’ so there was no way to find my red square anseo.
I saw another luas approaching and hopped on once more. Next stop Heuston station. The gateway to ‘the country’. I spotted another bike stand up ahead and felt surely this would be the one place where there would be a credit card enabled station. Unfortunately, it wasn’t, but at least I was now in a location that did get an honourable mention on the map, even if it wasn’t the fabled ‘anseo’, and could now locate the nearest credit card enabled station.
Hopping off at the Jervis street stop I turned left off the Luas and then right over towards a small park. There in front was a bike stand and low and behold a credit card enabled machine.
Coca Cola Zero welcomed me and gave me the option of selecting ‘1’ for a 3 day ticket. It then gave me the option of ‘1’ again to select the option or ‘2’ for the pricing structure.
A few terms and conditions later and I could now pop in the credit card, enter my pin, then enter my Dublin bike pin to get a 3 day ticket.
Ticket in hand I was now ready to hire a bike, so I now entered my three day ticket number and my bike pin. Next I selected a bike from the available options on the stand. Number 4 was to be mine and I was encouraged to move quickly to get it off the stand by the Polish girl behind me in the que as I may have been delaying slightly taking photographs.
My bike was beeping and I soon freed it from its repose. The saddle was soon raised to the max and I was now on my way. The bikes are comfy and utilitarian. Strava segments need not fear any form of assault from a cyclist on a Dublin bike.
First stop was the spire, or ‘The Stiletto by the ghetto’ as it is sometimes affectionately known.
City centre bike lanes tend to be attractive to taxis and busses so it is good to keep in mind that you should always be well aware of the traffic behind you and make allowances in advance.
I headed into the wind coming up the Liffey and crossed the Samuel Beckett bridge where the view was worth stopping to admire. U2 had been here the day before recording a new video. Then I went up to the next bridge to take it all in.
Next I followed the final kilometre of this years Giro d’Italia and whilst stopped at the traffic lights approaching Merrion Square I didn’t seem to recall Marcel Kittel and Ben Swift paying them much attention back in May.
On I ventured around St. Stephens green in search of a stand to dock my steed. I found one at the Leeson street side and then docked my bike. I waited for the double beep and the green light before walking away. As I was under 30 minutes aboard there was no charge other than the €5 for three days.
The Dublin bikes are easy to use and great for getting around on. Ideally you should register online when you could immediately hop on at any of the stations. The app is quite useful especially for locating the stations and where there are bikes or where there is no room left to dock.
Use them once and the system is simple after that. Even my friend could manage them without any bother, so I really hope that he does next time he visits Dublin.