Last week I broke the news (must credit FrontBurner!) that Spin had come to Dallas to challenge VBikes and that LimeBike would soon enter the fray. In the process of breaking that news (first!), I said that it appeared to me that Spin enjoyed an advantage over VBikes because it didn’t require a $99 deposit. I took a test ride and proclaimed Spin fairly awesome. I would now like to withdraw my endorsement. Here’s why:
For lunch my colleague Eric Celeste and I decided to go to City Tavern, on Main Street, to discuss Very Important Journalism Matters. (Also because for the entire month of August, if you buy one lunch at City Tavern, you get one free.) I said, “Hey, colleague, let’s ride Spin bikes to lunch! Download the app. You’ll be the Poncherello to my Jon.”
The nearest Spin to D Magazine HQ (Ross and St. Paul) was over on Harwood. On the way there, we passed a whole bunch of VBikes parked on San Jacinto. But whatever. I unlocked the Spin and prepared to mount it — only to discover that the handlebars could spin 360 degrees without moving the front wheel. Totally nonfunctional bike. Totally the wrong kind of spin. But these things happen. No big deal.
I locked up the bike, and Ponch and I kept walking down Harwood, passing VBike after Vbike. Two blocks later, at the DART stop at St. Paul and Bryan, we found two Spins parked side by side. Now we would ride! Cue the CHiPs theme song! Except after we paid for the bikes, Ponch discovered that his suffered from the same malfunction as the first Spin I’d rented.
I wound up walking to lunch, pushing the second Spin I’d rented, hoping to encounter another Spin for Ponch, but finding only VBikes. They were everywhere. Taunting me.
As a result of all the wasted time with the Spins, I had to rush through lunch. Walking the .4 mile back to the office, we didn’t pass a single Spin. Just more VBikes. I arrived at my desk drenched in sweat.
On Monday, I met Euwyn Poon, president of Spin. He’s a really nice guy. He told me that they’d dropped 50 Spins in downtown Dallas last week. That means Ponch and I tested 6 percent of the entire Spin fleet today, with a failure rate of 67 percent.
Conclusion: improvement needed.