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    • Google's iconic colorful bikes around town have always cheered me up when I see them. How cool of a company to provide an easy, environmentally kind way for their employees to get around.

      Thing is, for years I've called their hotline when I see abandoned bikes around town. I guess I thought of them like the shopping carts you see in every neighborhood. No big deal. As a child I was homeless and we had homeless friends with shopping carts.

      Sometimes it was disturbing to make the calls because our company is located right next to Stevens Creek and I would see some thrown into the creek. Sometimes I would dutifully fish them out and place them next to the road so the nice Google van driver who responded to my call could find it. But then I learned they have waders and tools to fish them out of the creeks because it's pretty common.

      Now I hear that actually, they have 5 vans and 30 contractors dedicated to retrieving lost and stolen bikes. Up to 250/week. Eh? Who are the people who take them and discard them in creeks?

    • I have heard that free resources are often valued as free. Bummer really.

      Cool bike program by Google though.

    • Well, by coincidence, I think I discovered a use case for Google bikes in the creek this morning.

      Yesterday afternoon a friend came home to find a Google bike parked beside his driveway, facing away from the house. When he entered the house, the phone rang and it was his neighbor, saying someone is in his back yard. Bob looked and sure enough, but the guy went over the fence into other yards. They called the police, who quickly arrived with canine units.

      The police explained that the bikes are sometimes used by house burglars to get away. They head to the creek and ditch them. This guy apparently did get away by running through back yards.

      The police took the canine units down to the creek and closed off Stevens Creek Trail for awhile, where I have reported bikes. Interestingly, there were two coyote sightings around us this morning, which I don't remember ever hearing. Some dog owners speculated that the police canine units scared them out of the creek area for awhile.

    • I've got something of a reputation for rescuing Google bikes around town in Sunnyvale. Neighbors text me or provide coordinates. My wife even tossed one in the back of her van the other week.

      Two quick stories:

      Once, I saw a young man with a bike at a Sunnyvale strip mall. I parked my car and approached him (which was probably dumb). I asked, "Where did you get the bike?"

      He didn't answer.

      I asked again, "Where did you get the bike? That's Google's bike and I work there."

      He looks up and says, "Santa Clara."

      I say, "OK. Can I take it?"

      He hesitates, likely considering his options. Then responds I can.

      Then I have to figure out what to do with it. I have a BMW 328i. Cute car. Not much room for picking up bikes. But I open the trunk and put the bike in diagonally, back wheel hanging out. Then I close the trunk on top as best I can and drive the short distance home.

      Second story...

      I'm assisting my daughter in Sunnyvale with a Girl Scout Cookie booth. As we're hawking thin mints, a couple shows up with Google bikes and goes inside the supermarket. After they enter, I leave the booth and snag each bike, one by one, and stow them in the minivan - smashed in there with all the other Girl Scout cookie boxes and booth equipment.

      Ten-plus minutes later, the couple emerges and says, "Wow, that was fast." They didn't expect the gentle dad there with the green apron and money belt pushing Trefoils had snagged the bikes.

      At this point, I only call Google Security when I have three or more at the backyard.

    • Wow, Louis. You're ahead of me in bike detectiveness.

      This quote from SilconBeat stuck with me since I read it:

      Ensuring that only company workers are riding the “Gbikes” is not particularly straightforward: some Googlers don’t exactly fit the stereotype of the Silicon Valley techie. Company transportation executive Jeral Poskey told the paper he once took action when he saw what appeared to be a homeless woman on a commandeered Google bike.

      “If I could describe her, you would agree with me,” Poskey said. “She looked all panicked, and then she showed me her Google badge."

      My friend Bob clarified the Google bike burglar story in an email:

      Here is the story. After the horse race yesterday I was going to take Moe for a walk. I looked outside to see a Google Bike parked in my driveway facing toward the street. First I thought it was a prank because I am a cyclist, but my new neighbor across the street, who hasn’t even moved in yet, came over and asked if it was my bike because he worked at Google. I said, no, I have no idea how this got here. Then he told me someone who was on the bike jumped over either my fence to the backyard or my neighbor’s fence.

      I immediately went back into the house to first make sure he wasn’t in my backyard and to call 911. Within 5 minutes, the area was blanketed with police. I don’t yet know if they found the guy or not.

      btw I have no idea how someone can hop our fence…not a chance that I could get up that high without massive upper body strength!

    • So by putting the bikes out there and not having a good user/public company policy, how fair is it to basically take away their transportation if they don't suit the vision on usage?
      Was that couple affiliated with google? how do they get the food home, is that the risk? Anyone takes a bike even an employee and use this transportation, is limited based on if they are on the seat?
      I could not find a an easy answer online, seems to be only used by google staff and within campus, so is the fact that google staff are breaking the rules that allows for this other abuse of the system?
      Seems odd and a little unfair to ask the public/employees to police the usage.

    • wish I had my bike rack installed, I saw a bike the other day out of the way. I was thinking a fun project to take it all over the bay area and beyond to places it should not be and use it as a prop for some fun shots.

    • Well now I'm seeing these everywhere. They look nice. I thought maybe this one was abandoned by the creek because I saw it every other day for a week as I went running, but it was parked right beside someone's house. I wonder what that business is like?

    • These and another brand are littering the streets near me. Litter is a good term, random places and lots of them. I am not sure I like the scatter your stuff around in hopes someone pays you method. Asking for abuse, would be great if they offered lower cost rides to those who actually have little budget and need to get to work etc. Sign up for a free or reduced ride discount etc.

    You've been invited!