If you’ve been downtown lately, chances are you’ve seen yellow bikes parked at bike racks, sitting in the middle of the sidewalk.
Like bike-sharing programs across the country, the concept is simple: rent it, ride it, return it. And yes, there’s an app for that.
With VBikes, riders locate available bikes by GPS, check it out and then leave the bikes where they want. There are no bike stations.
A company representative says the low-maintenance design takes the work out of the ride.
“They do really stand out,” said Luke Pettyjohn, business developer for VBikes. “We project that we won’t have to do any maintenance on these for about three years. The tires because they’re not gonna go flat, and the shaft because it’s fully housed, we don’t have to oil it.”
Leading the bike share game in North Texas is B-Cycle with a stronghold in Fort Worth that has 45 stations and 350 bikes. There’s a much smaller selection of B-Cycles in Dallas that are limited to use at Fair Park.
Enter Garland-based startup VBikes, named for the shape of the bike.
“It’s shaped like a V, it’s that simple,” said Matt Morris, also a business developer for VBikes. “We want to fit in with the existing biking culture here in Dallas, which a lot of people are excited about that.”
After the one-time $99 refundable deposit, the bikes rent for $1 an hour, with a $10 dollar daily max.
The bikes quietly started popping up around town earlier this month without official permission from the city of Dallas. Most of the bikes are parked at Klyde Warren Park.
City officials say they’re interested in the VBikes, and are doing research to see if any regulations may need to change for them to operate lawfully and safely in the city.
“We’re trying to make the city more bike-friendly,” said Morris. “We care about healthy living, we care about environmentally friendly modes of transportation.”