If Indego bikes could talk, No. 2679 would have some crazy stories to tell.
That particular bicycle, easily identifiable by its black-and-white patterned frame, was one of the first to hit the streets when Philly’s bike share launched in spring 2015. It was introduced as part of a collaboration with Mural Arts that saw 10 vehicles wrapped in colorful imagery designed by local street artist Candy Coated.
Not all of the original “Riding Murals” bikes are still in use, but this one is — big time.
According to data made public by Indego, No. 2679 is the most-ridden bicycle across the entire bike share program.
Billy Penn collaborated with Ben Garvey, senior manager of engineering at software company Magento, to find out more details on the star cycle, and find out why it ended up being the city’s most-used public two-wheeler.
Over the past three years, Garvey discovered, No. 2679 has been taken on more than 1975 separate trips and traveled more than 1,985 miles, to almost every corner of the city. You can view its complete history on Garvey’s interactive Google Map.
Travel appears heaviest between Queen Village, Rittenhouse and University City, but it has also been parked in Strawberry Mansion and Walnut Hill, in Point Breeze and Pennsport, at Spruce Street Harbor Park and Temple. It was most commonly docked at one of three stations:
- 15th and Spruce (147 times)
- Rittenhouse Square (142 times)
- 23rd and South (138 times)
The map doesn’t show it in deep South Philly or the far Northeast — it could have been ridden there, but there are no Indego docks in those neighborhoods, so no way to know if it cruised through those areas.
On average, our hero velocipede spent just under 25 minutes with each rider, and the average trip length (as the crow flies) was just over a mile. The longest someone ever had its sturdy aluminum frame in their possession was 13¼ hours — that was probably a fun day.
Like all Indego vehicles, No. 2679 is spec’d out to be extremely durable, said Kristin Gavin, general manager at Bicycle Transit, the company that runs bike share for Philadelphia (as well as programs in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Oklahoma City).
Gavin couldn’t say exactly how many times the bike has been in the warehouse for repairs, but noted that at the bare minimum it’s been inspected once a month. So if it’s still out on the street, she said, it should be in tip-top shape despite all the wear and tear.
Sure enough. Garvey and Billy Penn tested No. 2679 by taking it for a spin around Rittenhouse Square, and it was a smooth ride all the way.
Even on the short test ride, the bike’s zebra-like pattern turned plenty of heads — an indicator of why it got so popular in the first place. Indeed, Garvey discovered, the second-most frequently used Indego bike is also one of the Riding Murals vehicles.
Overall, the Mural Arts wrapped bikes get ridden nearly 10 percent more often than regular blues, Garvey calculated. Interestingly, they’re also kept in service 28 percent longer.
That’s bodes well for the success of Indego’s latest art collab: 20 bikes wrapped with imagery from the Barnes Foundation collection. Half of those are already on the street, Gavin said, and the rest will join the fleet on May 6 of this year.