If you read my bike-sharing blog, which is rated the ninth most popular bike-sharing blog with bike-sharing enthusiasts in certain parts of King County or something, than you know that Seattle is slated to get its first bike-sharing program in September, though we’ve always technically had bike-sharing, if you count stealing.
But we will get our first consensual bike-sharing system soon, set to open with 500 bikes and 50 docking stations in the University District, Downtown, Capitol Hill, and South Lake Union (these docking stations will be nowhere near as cool as the docking stations in space, so don’t get your hopes up).
Here’s how it works: Using a giant vending machine with bikes in it, patrons will be able to make their selection (A5, for instance), and watch the bike fall into the giant bin area, where they can reach underneath the heavy flap and grab it. Sometimes, the bike may get stuck, but if you bang the machine with your car or a baseball bat you should be able to knock it loose. Next to the bicycle vending machine will be a helmet vending machine, in case you’ve wanted to know what it would be like to share a hat with thousands of people, you sick bastard.
The latest news regarding this bike-sharing thing is that Alaska Airlines will be contributing $2.5 million in funding for the proposed Seattle bike sharing program, which the powers that be have decided to name Pronto! (the exclamation point is part of the name).
Obviously, the name is a bit unfortunate. Pronto! Say it with me: Pronto. “How did you get here?” “Pronto.” You see the problem? Would you name your son or daughter Pronto? I wouldn’t even name a horse Pronto, and if I had a horse named Pronto, I’d shoot him. Off to the glue factory you go. When I hear the word pronto, I think of a cartoon Italian chef yelling “Pronto!” as he claps twice and waiters run by with hot plates. I imagine a dancing teacher yelling “Pronto!” at his students so they quickly line up. I imagine a movie about a turtle named Pronto who really wants to win the big race. I imagine a lot of things, but none of them are bicycles.
As you probably know, Pronto means “quickly” and “hurry up.” So you’d say something like, “Get me those nuclear war codes pronto!” or “I want this baby delivered pronto!” or “I need you to eat those candy bars pronto!” (More examples can be mailed to you for $19.95.) It’s a word that demands rapid action, and that is simply not something that I associate with bicycles. They’re leisurely vehicles, meant to be taken from your house to your mailbox at the end of the driveway, which I’m sure everyone can relate to.
Granted, you can get somewhere relatively quickly on a bicycle, but I can totally beat you there with my 2014 Maserati Quattroporte (I drive a Honda) or my Ducati 1098 (it has a crack in the windshield) or my Regal 42 Sport Coupe (and it smells a little inside, but my friends kindly refrain from saying anything).
This is not to mentions the totally unnecessary exclamation point, which makes it seem like the bicycle is yelling at you. “Get on this bike pronto, I’ve got 400 other people scheduled today.” Pronto is fast enough on its own; it doesn’t need the added pressure of the exclamation point. When something is actually fast and efficient, it doesn’t need an exclamation point. One of the fastest planes in the world is called the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, not the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird! Okay, I realize that I’m not making a great point here and am being petty. It happens.
Beyond the name, and I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on the name, is the troubling fact that a bike-sharing service is receiving funding from Alaska Airlines, a plane company. Can’t stand on your own two wheels, can you bicycles? You take money from planes, you accept rides on the front of buses, and you displace parking spots with your bike lanes. When are going to go out into the world on your own and stop leaning on every other vehicle?
Sorry, that doesn’t make much sense. I’m just angry about the name “Pronto.” Pronto? Unbelievable.