Enlarge / These bikes have not been thrown into the Puget Sound… yet. (credit: Sam Machkovech)
SEATTLE—Let’s say you want to whisk across a city’s downtown at a pace somewhere between walking and taxiing, and you’re not interested in bus waits or looking like a dork on a hoverboard. How about a bike? How about a bike that you can pick up on practically any street corner, then leave behind in the same fashion when you’re done?
That’s the promise of not one but two bike-sharing efforts (Spin and LimeBike) that launched in Seattle this week.

They differ largely from another former Seattle bike-sharing program, Pronto, in that they don’t require any official docks.

Take a bike; leave a bike.
It’s the two-wheeled equivalent of app-powered, car-sharing services like Daimler AG’s Car2Go and BMW’s ReachNow, only with a much cheaper rate of $1 per half hour of use.
Upon hearing about these services launching in my town, I got excited. Hop from place to place with shared bikes and my phone? Cool! But a few days of intermittent use—and some very odd encounters—have cooled my pedaling heels.
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