fold-up-bike-flickr
Stephen McGrath

Oh, did you want that coffee to go? Here’s a Schwinn with your soy latte. That’s what happens when you run a bikeshare program out of a coffee shop instead of through a corporate sponsor like Citibank. Writes Feargus O’Sullivan for The Atlantic:

Buy a coffee, and we’ll lend you a free bike. This is the idea behind a novel kind of bike-share scheme in the Czech Republic, where group of cafes in Brno, the country’s second-largest city, have come together to offer customers free biking. Dropping in for a drink, all users need to do is put down a deposit of 300 Crown ($16) and they get a lock, a folding bike, and a request to turn it in at the end of the day at any of the participating centers.

O’Sullivan likens it to free wifi at coffee shops. Remember before it was widespread? It was good publicity for the coffee shop, made you want to come back, and encouraged you to get a cup of joe. This tiny bikeshare program will hopefully do the same thing.

And since they’re not using fancypants docking stations, the program doesn’t require any new infrastructure — just a little bit of room in the café. As if it couldn’t get any better, the one-year-old program hasn’t had to deal with theft, either. (Then again, they only have five bikes. But still.)

Dang Europeans. Always making us look bad.