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Ridin’ (Not So) Dirty

When I was in college, I rode the bus four times a day. I don’t mean the scarlet-tipped Campus Area Bus Service (CABS) that you see whizzing around OSU half-full of wide-eyed kids ready to tackle the first step of adulthood. No, I am talking about the plain ol’ COTA—the bulbous-faced goliaths that tardily chug [...]
Danny Hamen



When I was in college, I rode the bus four times a day. I don’t mean the scarlet-tipped Campus Area Bus Service (CABS) that you see whizzing around OSU half-full of wide-eyed kids ready to tackle the first step of adulthood. No, I am talking about the plain ol’ COTA—the bulbous-faced goliaths that tardily chug up and down our city streets with zero patience, where everyone aboard, driver included, looks exhausted no matter the time of day.

Though my time on the bus was mostly positive save for a few foul-smelling strangers, I always day-dreamed of an alternative form of public transportation in Columbus that didn’t involve a pseudo-ambiguous schedule and multiple transfers to get to my destination. When the Car2Go arrived in our city, I was delighted, gaily zipping through the city streets in my miniature clown car. Apparently there wasn’t enough of me, since that carsharing dream recently fell by the wayside due to lack of interest. While it wasn’t a tangentially affordable alternative to owning a car, it was an interesting concept that had an array of convenient benefits.

To quote Ginsberg, with death comes rebirth.

While the lifecycle of Car2Go has expired, a myriad of alternative transportation methods have taken its place, each more unique than the last. While taking the COTA is a certainly a suitable method to get from A to B, it is nice that we now have options that don’t rely on outside variables. (Besides, there is no worse feeling than waking up late and sprinting unshowered to the bus stop, only to find the COTA pass you by on a rainy Monday morning.)


Let’s face it: nobody looks cool riding an electric scooter. But much like finger painting, segways, pedal wagons, and themed sweater vests, most fun things in life subtract from your total number of accumulated cool points, and that is just fine. I was in Oakland last month, and I remember seeing a fleet of these electric scooters scattered across the city, so, as any normal tourist would do, I downloaded the app, hopped on, and zipped to the nearest museum with a legal joint hanging from my lips. And in some bizarre turn of the universe, when I got home from my weeklong voyage, a flock of Birds materialized to welcome me home.


For $1 to unlock and a measly 15 cents per minute, Bird is easily the cheapest alternative transportation method available. All you do is search the app for a nearby scooter, unlock it by scanning the QR code one with your phone, and off you go. At night, a fleet of “chargers” pick up the scooters and charge them at their homes so they are ready to go the next day. In addition to the fun utility that the scooters provide, Bird has pledged to donate a dollar per day per scooter to our city.


Though not as noticeable (yet) in Columbus, lots of Californians have complained that the proliferation of scooters have littered city sidewalks, to the point where the #scootersbehavingbadly has become a popular hashtag on twitter, leading to a citywide ban in San Francisco. The Bird philosophy of begging for forgiveness rather than asking for permission has gotten the company in some hot water, most recently in St. Louis, which has demanded the company take their business elsewhere after showing up without a permit.


While on the surface, Zipcar might seem like a reimagining of the Car2Go model, there are some key differences that makes this car sharing program stand out from its now defunct competitor. One major change is that instead of rolling around in a claustrophobia-inducing smart car, you have the option of choosing a car you’d like to drive, like a Honda Civic for instance. Other than that, the ideology remains mostly the same. You pay seven bucks a month, reserve a time slot, and rent the car for 9-10$ an hour depending on your choice of ride.


Getting to choose your ride is certainly a positive benefit of the Zipcar model, and the price point isn’t terrible if you are just needing a quick ride to the grocery store without the hassle and price of recruiting two seperate Uber drivers to help you haul kitty litter. As for a full-day rental, the prices are comparable to Hertz and other competitors, especially considering that gas is included in the price. (They even leave a credit card in the dash for you to fill it up yourself if needed. Just don’t use it to buy beer; I’m sure they will find out.)


One major flaw with the Zipcar is the inability to park it wherever you’d like. Each car has a specific parking location that you must pick it up and drop it off at, which makes it a) a completely unviable mode of transportation to work unless you are willing to drop 80 bucks to borrow it for the full day, and b) completely useless unless you live within walking distance to one of the limited number of designated parking spots that have recently popped up around town.

Electric Ave.

Much like the difference between ZipCar and Car2Go, Electric Ave. offers its patrons the luxury of variety, boasting a wide selection futuristic motorized vehicles, from electric bikes to hi-tec one-wheeled boards. For $35 a weekday ($50 on the weekends), Electric Ave. is an interesting way to get from A to B.


Without the burden of repetition, it is safe to say that any way to decrease the necessity of owning a vehicle is always a good thing, and riding an electric bike is as fun as it sounds. The bikes are pedal-assist, with nine speed settings, meaning you get a boost when you pedal, rather than a continuous motor. Topping out at 20 MPH (with plenty of work on your end) makes it feel swift and safe. A concierge service is available, too, which means that within 10 miles of their location you can get a bike dropped off for free (and $1 for every mile outside of that range).


Much like the ZipCar, unless you live near one locations, this isn’t a reasonable alternative for your daily commute, but more of a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon. We test-rode one and immediately had us imagining a drive up old 23 to the beach at Alum Creek (that’s a pro inside a con!). It is a lot of bike, though. Manageable, yes, but more than just you average cruiser.


Lime is another recent manifestation of the dockless ridesharing program, boasting slick lime green manual bicycles for $1 an hour or $25 a month. Their most recent infiltration into the greater Dublin area has made the Lime the most abundant of the shared bicycles that you can find.


In many ways, Lime Bike shares the same philosophy as Bird, which can be good or bad depending on how you feel about dockless ridesharing programs. Regardless, providing affordable and reliable transportation to people in need, while simultaneously encouraging physical activity, should always be viewed as a step in the right direction.


Much like Bird, many many cities have complained that these bikes are littering the streets, often found tipped over, blocking sidewalks and walkways. So, we find ourselves at a crossroads—both of these programs present a positive opportunity to provide our city with an affordable and effective means of transportation (unless it is raining), but due to humanity’s inability to clean up after themselves, we are left with a a city littered of discarded scooters and bicycles. I guess it’s true what my mother always told my rambunctious five-year-old self: “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

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Clintonville shop earns “America’s Best” award

614now Staff



Clintonville's Johnny Velo Bikes has been named one of the top bike shops in the nation according to an industry source.

Johnny Velo Bikes has received an America’s Best Bike Shop award from the National Bike Dealers Association (NBDA). The shop is among only six in Ohio to earn the distinction.

“It's an honor to be recognized as one of the best bike shops out of more 4,000 shops in the country," owner John Robinson said in a statement. "We've only been in business for two years, but we've worked very hard to create a professional and friendly atmosphere for our customers."

The NBDA's America's Best Bike Shops program identifies and rewards bicycle stores in North America against the highest performance standards in the industry. The awards are issued based on an application and secret shopper process, with shops scored on layout and design, staff and management, training, marketing, and community involvement.

Contact John Robinson at 614-333-0012 or [email protected] for all your bike-related needs. For details on the shop, visit

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Arts & Culture

Maker’s Space: Kato Mitchell




Following an initial disastrous experience with attempting to refurbish a personal pair of sneakers with acrylic paint years ago, a friend noticed Mitchell’s persistence, aiding him to perfect his craft. Though he began with primarily focusing on restoring his friends’ worn-down sneakers, Mitchell’s business, Work The Custom, has expanded to designing apparel in any range.

Just months after being highlighted as cleat designer for Braxton Miller’s Charg1ng summer football camp in Dayton, Mitchell’s clientele has accrued some big names in the sports world, and he has no intention of stopping. (614) caught up with Mitchell to learn more about Work The Custom, and his hope for reconstructing apparel in Columbus and beyond.

(614): When did you decide to transition from football to design?
KM: I’ve always had a passion for drawing and art, [but] I just lost my vision when I took actual art classes and didn’t like what we were doing. After college, I didn’t get any NFL calls, [and] I was trying to figure out what else I would love to do every day, and fell back in love with art.

What was your leap from “this thing I do” to the thing to do? How do you promote your work? After I realized how many people wanted to show who they really are with art, and I was someone who could help do that, that was my ironing point. I promote my work through Instagram and Facebook for the most part, but I do go to sneaker events from time-to-time to pass out business cards.

Is this your primary gig, side gig or hobby? How did it come to be?
It’s my side gig for the moment, but trying to grow and learn to make it my full-time career. I had a pair of shoes that were beat up and didn’t want to buy more so I painted them, but one of my friends taught me the game and how to prosper from it.

What life changes do you feel have propelled your work? How have your customizations evolved? Playing football for a place like Ohio State and doing work for Buckeyes in the NFL and for the OSU football team has helped grow my work faster and further. My customs have evolved just by me growing up and seeing different things, learning different things, practicing everyday, and being able to adapt.

Do you have a specific audience that you want to appeal to?
I want my work to be for everyone. My work can range from baby shoes to youth high school players of all sports, to walls of homeowners and businesses, to shoes for pro athletes.

What ingredients come together to make Columbus a fertile ground for makers, designers and creatives? Columbus is a growing market and very friendly. It has new businesses starting every week and everyone is trying to help everyone else.

What’s your six-word creative story?

Work The Custom is coming fast!

To get in contact with Mitchell, or to see more designs, follow him on Instagram at @katowork19.

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Twitter Reacts: Bucks score #1 spot in first official playoff rankings

Mike Thomas



The first official rankings for the 2019 College Football Playoff were announced yesterday, and the Buckeyes have landed at the top of the pile. The ranking marks the first time the Buckeyes have held the #1 spot since the inception of the playoff system.

Needless to say, social media is abuzz with reactions to this historic moment for Ryan Day's squad. Enjoy this roundup of reactions to the announcement from around Twitterverse, and Go Bucks!
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