Miami update: Save the bike share bikes … from ‘bulky’ trash pick-up?

** February 2020 Update:  At this point, Kurt Kaminer’s #spinbikeproject — decommissioning and redistributing former bike share bikes — has wrapped, resulting in rough 400 bikes being released back into the wild and 40 or so parts bikes being shipped to San Diego for (hopefully) repair and use there. I’m egging Kurt on to next take a dive into retired share scooter re-use and decommissioning issues in Miami, in lead-up to CoMotion MIAMI in April — stay tuned! **

I never thought that I would find myself (a) living in Miami and (b) staring at a grimy warehouse full of bike share bikes in need of rescue, some of them brand new and still in foam packaging — what?

Yet, here I am … and photographed are just some of the over 400 retired Spin bikes that Bike Share Museum founder Kurt Kaminer has gained access to and is volunteering to redistribute.

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Kurt Kaminer with a fleet of retired Spin bike share bikes

Using various hand tools, Kurt’s been removing locks and numbered plates and making some minor repairs, rolling rehabilitated bikes out to different organizations that want them (if interested, contact him ASAP). However, Kurt’s running out of time as Spin moves to close some warehouse space by the end of the month. I’m pitching in however I can in the next days and anxious to find out what happens next.

Spin apparently was founded in late 2016 and first had bikes in this part of Florida in November 2017. How we have reached a point where a nearly bullet-proof push bike introduced barely two years ago is considered to be “old” and a “leftover” — or worse, scrap metal or local landfill fodder — is beyond me. What I’ve seen so far in Miami raises many questions in my mind about how cities are planning for and handling the possible e-waste and retired stock associated with different micromobility options currently rolling about.

I ponder this as I wonder generally about different waste streams and opportunities in Miami. Here in 2020, garbage seems to be collected twice a week and unsorted “bulky” trash items (anything one can imagine) are picked up yet another day weekly … but the recycling truck only comes around once a fortnight and there is no option for separated compost / green waste collection?

There also does not seem to be a way to purchase 100% renewable energy as a local energy customer — a “greenchoice” that residents of Austin, Texas (including renters) have had since 2004. Sunlight is obviously abundant here, and a trashed solar panel from an abandoned Spin bike is currently charging my phone. As I’m back to having to aggressively dodge single-use plastic bags and utensils (skip a straw and save a turtle) and spending my free time trying to help mitigate literally a warehouse full of discarded bikes (thinking of recent warehouse discoveries in Puerto Rico), it’s hard to take the notion of “Miami Forever Climate Ready” very seriously. That said, I’m ready to pitch in however I can in Miami and try to keep these Spin bikes out of bulky pick-up.

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