Well after a bit of a hiatus, I thought I should start blogging again. It’s been a weird old time of it, but New Zealand is very lucky in that we are getting back to some kind of normal. The central city was busy today with people out and about on bikes or scooters, and having lunch in town.
As it was such a nice day, we decided to cycle into the city and try out the new Locky Dock docking and charging stations for e-bikes. What followed was much hilarity and frustration, as the instructions were rather basic. We suspect a screen beside the dock may have had more instructions, but Windows 10 had crashed and it needed a re-boot.
So, let’s just say that using these for the first time ever is not intuitive and I was so annoyed I gave the app a 1 star rating. It was an exercise in very poor usability. Good usability is when things are intuitive and you are not made to think. Not only were we made to think, but things were super confusing, and my bike nearly fell on me as I tried to open up the charging spot.
We had several people walk past and stop and ask us how they worked, or could they watch as we worked it out. My reply to one person, was yes, but only if you don’t mind some swearing. She came in very handy as while I was trying to open the charger that’s when my bike nearly fell on me (and it’s a heavy bike).
The first ‘fail’ is that whilst the dock is called Locky Doc, the app that controls it is called Bikeep. We scanned the QR code on the dock which took us to the app. The second fail is that despite the app asking for our geo location, it showed us docking stations in Auckland. I had to use a map to zoom out and find Christchurch, then zoom in to find Cashel Street.
The next rather big fail (for me personally) is that I couldn’t quite work out how to position my bike so the bike arm went around it. It took me a few adjustments to get the bike into the right spot.
Now for one of the major fails. We both wanted to charge our bikes – that is after all the big benefit of these docking stations. So after finally working out how to position the bike and get the lock armed, we then decided to hook up the charger. Oh, no you don’t… we soon realised you can’t get to the charger when the bike is locked. That makes sense, but it would have been helpful to have that pointed out somewhere. So we unlocked the bikes and opened up the charging box. Then we both struggled for a few minutes to open up the plastic cover that went over the power point. Finally we both managed to flip the covers, get the chargers in, and attached to our respective bikes.
Next, we had to lock the bike arm again, but this time the app thought we were somewhere in Europe. Oh dear… well we finally achieved our goal. But it was a bit of a mission, and perhaps a little bit of performance art for passersby as we both become increasingly frustrated and ‘sweary’.
Now that we both have the app on our phones, and some experience, we’ll be pros the next time and no doubt will be able to be a little bit smug and also helpful to other struggling e-cyclists.
Don’t get me wrong, I very much appreciated free energy. Thanks whoever is paying for it. And if you think we are just a bit stupid, we both have degrees and work in IT and engineering respectively. Maybe we are just getting old!