[TheThinkTank] 6 month Bike "Checkout" System w/ the option to buy

Bill Leddy bill at williesworkshop.net
Sun Nov 8 10:39:07 PST 2020

Hi All,

Before I begin, I apologize in advance for the length of this post…

I’m new to this list. I’ve been a volunteer with Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA) for a number of years. As part of my work at SABA I’ve created a few on-line systems that we have been using. 

Commenting on Jonathan’s post, though I’m not fluent in PHP, assuming the source code is available (very likely) that sounds like a good way to get your system back on line quickly. As a next step, finding someone to upgrade the code to a modern version of PHP would surly be quicker and easier than starting from scratch. On the other hand, sometimes with experience gained, a substantial re-write may make the app a lot better.

As a kinda-sorta response to Audrey’s question about other systems, I’d like to share something I’m currently working on for SABA which I hope may be relevant.

When “the thing” started in March, a number of bike organizations began “Bike Match” programs with a focus on getting under used bikes into the hands of essential workers who were having trouble commuting to their jobs etc. It stated in NY and DC, I believe, as a one on one match making scheme where the donor and recipient would make their own arrangements to meet and hand off the bike. SABA tried setting up a similar program but in a smaller, far less dense city, the logistics simply did not work. The distances between the donors and recipients are too great. There was a lot of bike schlepping on our part so it just didn’t scale.

We are on the verge of relaunching SABA BikeMatch with a very different approach which, after viewing the Bike Library site, sounds an awful lot like what Audrey’s organization is doing but with a bit of an on-line shopping element. Rather than scheduling people to come in and find a bike, we plan to post the available bikes on line. Bikes are reserved for a very limited time with a specific appointment date and time. At the appointed time, the recipient comes to pickup their bike. If they don’t show, the bike automatically becomes available for someone else.

You can play around with the development site here: https://bikematch.williesworkshop.net  Feel free to “reserve” a bike and check it out.

The site is still in development but should all work, as far as it goes. I would love to hear feed back and any suggestions or questions you have.

Getting back to Audrey’s question, I could imagine this system expanding to include a Library functionality. I think all the major pieces are there. I look forward to hearing your comments.

In case there is anyone still reading this, I have another system which I’ve created that other organizations may be interested in...

What with “the thing” this year SABA has not been doing too many public events but we used to do a lot of Valet Bike Parking and a community bike repair program we call Bike MD. After using another system for years, I was finally fed up enough with what I thought were short comings and created a system for publicizing events and allowing volunteers and staff to schedule themselves for shifts. You can check it out here:


For those of a technical frame of mind, it’s open source written in Python and is available at: http://github.com/wleddy/staffing
The site is not entirely customizable at this time, but if anyone is interested in making use of it, it might be just the push I need to clean it up.

    Bill Leddy

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Jonathan Rosenbaum <gnuser at gmail.com>
> To: The Think Tank <thethinktank at lists.bikecollectives.org>
> Cc: 
> Bcc: 
> Date: Fri, 6 Nov 2020 23:05:04 -0500
> Subject: Re: [TheThinkTank] 6 month Bike "Checkout" System w/ the option to buy
> Hi Audrey,
> Is the code for the Bike Library Checkout App available anywhere?
> Regardless, I should be able to provide a resolution for this issue. The easiest solution would be to run the app in a virtualized container that has the correct libraries. Exactly like with the reuse of bikes, you can reuse code. 
> -Jonathan 
> On Fri, Nov 6, 2020 at 11:17 AM Audrey Wiedemeier <audrey at bikelibrary.org> wrote:
> Hello Friends:
> Yesterday the Bike Library Checkout App that is custom built html failed to load. It won't be an easy fix as the Bike Lib. app was running on a really old version of php; a version that is no longer supported. The code is at least ten years old and likely will need to be completely rewritten. That being said, we need to decide to rewrite the code or query other operations out there. 
> The order of operation for the Checkout System is: 
> - find a bike, put down a deposit of $100-$300, sign the liability waiver, patron takes bike
> - on our end each bike has a 4-digit number that gets entered into our system with bike specs and the 6 month "due date" is recorded with that number
> - six months go by and the patron can return the bike for a refund of their deposit minus $50 OR they simply keep the bike and we keep their deposit $. 
> - if they return it we make sure we have an updated mailing address, and the app lets us know how much we need to write the check out for to send via snail mail
> My questions to y'all are:
> 1 Do other shops operate in a similar fashion? If so, what POS system are you using?
> 2 Are there other shops out there who would want to replicate this checkout system? We have always wanted to make it easier to share and now would be the time to do it. 
> 3 Have you heard of any new tech solutions that we should research? I've heard it's easier than ever to build your own app and I've fallen behind so maybe is a simple solution. 
> Peace & grease, 
> Audrey Wiedemeier (She/her/hers)
> Iowa City Bike Library, Director 
> 700 S. Dubuque St, Iowa City
> COVID Hours: Tues. - Thurs. 10 AM - 5 PM; Sat. 10 - 3 PM
> Need something? Set up an appointment by email. 
> Want to donate? Drop off anytime during these hours. Thank you!
> BikeLibrary.org
> C: (515) 450-1651

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