From the town of Pacific Beach (also known to San Diego tipplers as Baja Encinitas, we're told), Pacific Beach businesses push back against bike-sharing service:
A battle is brewing in Pacific Beach over who controls the local bike rental market.DecoBike is a company that started bike-share in Miami and has expanded to San Diego in partnership with the city of San Diego. Their locations are primarily around downtown San Diego for urban commuters, but the expansion into Pacific Beach puts them right in the tourist market.
"We're a small neighborhood shop," said Surf Monkey Bike shop owner Jake Russell.
"I'm going to lose rentals because of it," Russell added when asked about the new DecoBike bike-sharing stations popping up around PB.
Bike-sharing allows a customer to rent a bike from one location and return it to another.
"We want DecoBike to pack up and go back to the East Coast," Russell exclaimed.
Russell said the ride-sharing service will directly cut into his business and dozens of others who rent bikes. In some locations, parking spots will be lost when new stations open.
In some ways, this is like Uber vs. the taxi cartels: entrenched incumbents complaining about disruptive innovation. But in important ways, it differs. Where Uber is a pure market innovator and the taxi cartels are a government-created oligopoly, in the PB case the bike shops are the free-market operators and the disruptor is coming in with government support in the form of unprecedented rights to hundreds of bike rack locations on public property (and who knows what other financial support from the city, SANDAG, et. al.).
Aside from the PB brouhaha, though, bike-share is a rapidly growing concept around the world.
Is it time for bike-share in Encinitas? Up to now, most of our bicyclists are the spandex-clad multi-color weekend Lance Armstrongs. We don't have the hotel zone or the flat east-west routes or the bike path around the bay for tourists that PB has. Would tourists, commuters, or shoppers use shared bikes to go over the ridge to or from El Camino Real? Is there enough demand for bike shares to work up and down the coast to Solana Beach and Carlsbad, or within Encinitas from Leucadia to Cardiff?