A couple of months ago I did an exposé on the history of getting around in Toronto during the winter. Powerful stuff.
In that piece, I outlined the various forms of transit used during the icy, wintry months in the city, many of which are still in use today. Nota bene: bicycles were not included.
That makes sense, doesn’t it? Of all the types of conveyances that one could conjure up that are also well-suited to winter, bicycles wouldn’t really be high on that list. And once you’ve experienced a Toronto winter, it’s blindingly obvious.
That’s not to detract from those hardcode cyclists who put spikes on their wheels, layers on their bodies, and bike around the city all winter long. Good for them for being totally extreme, I guess.
Not me though, I think that’s nuts.
And I’d like to suggest that most people would agree with me; biking in the nice weather, great! Winter, fuck it!
So based on this assumption, I think it’s safe to say that any business based on cycling has to be prepared to weather the winter weather, so to speak.
Therefore, the fact that rent-a-bike outfit BIXI is currently experiencing financial troubles should be making us as nervous as the inevitable first lawsuit against the company for not providing helmets. (The law currently makes them optional for adults, but BIXI might have additional obligations on account of them being a business.)
It’s not the first time they’ve been in this situation with their hometown of Montreal having to bail them out not too long ago. Now they’re crying poor on the doorsteps of Toronto with whom they have a 10-year loan.
The loan is to the tune of $4.8 million, better than Montreal’s $108 million, but still.
BIXI says that they don’t have the number of bikes on the road that they need to turn a profit. Not sure if that’s a dollars issue or a City Hall one, but that still seems like something that could’ve been predicted. This ain’t BIXI’s first time at the dance, ya know.