Lets be honest, travelling isn’t all rainbows and smiles 100% of the time. I could just blog about all the good times of my trip and pretend that everything goes perfect, but then I’d be lying. Let’s be real here.
Quick answer to this posts title, no, no it does not!
I just want to start with that I love Uber and they are the most useful app to have whilst you’re travelling around, especially if you take Uber Pool when you aren’t in a rush, it works out so cheap. PLUS you get some Uber drivers that are the nicest people, you have great conversations, learn about them, the area you’re in and their recommendations! But this isn’t a post about pure Uber appreciation, this is Uber confusion, frustration, but then celebration!
So it all started with when I decided to rent a bike from my hostel in Hermosa Beach to bike up to Santa Monica. Now if you’re familiar with the area you’ll know Hermosa and Santa Monica aren’t close together but someone told me it would take forty minutes to bike. Two hours and fifteen miles later I make it to Venice Beach (the beach just before Santa Monica) and I’m exhausted! I could hardly function once I got there to appreciate where I was, not to mention I’d been suffering from a stomach bug for the last ten days too, completely defeated.
The friend I biked up with wasn’t warming to Venice Beach due to it’s heavy amount of tourists and expensive prices, so she headed back just twenty minutes after we’d got there. I however, was not in any way to bike another fifteen miles back to Hermosa straight away. So I stayed and biked another fifteen minutes up to Santa Monica to meet my friend Natalia to celebrate the Ferris wheel’s 125th anniversary. The plan from here was to spent the evening together, put my bike in Natalia’s car, then drive back to my hostel together- But not everything goes to plan.
Our evening together was completely hijacked by the stomach bug getting worse and I just needed to be horizontal, so we decided to head back to the car to get me back to my hostel. We got back to Natalia’s car and we tried sooo hard to make the bike fit but it just wouldn’t. I’m talking sideways, other sideways, upside-down, though the right door, left door, boot. That thing had ridiculously wide handles.
So there we were Googling “Uber bike” to see if Uber has a certain settings where you can request cars big enough to fit passengers and their bikes or if they have bike racks. This search did bring me to articles like “Uber Pedal Coming Soon!” posted in 2011?? Seven years is not soon. I searched everywhere on the app for settings, types of cars and nothing about bikes. So I decided I just needed to take the bus, I knew the bus had a rack.
I got to the bus stop at 10:30pm, in so much pain from the stomach bug, dying to get back when I look up and see my bus is delayed, meaning I wouldn’t get home until 1am. This is where the desperation kicked in and I decided to try my luck with Uber.
Normally I’ll order an Uber Pool as they’re the cheapest but with this dumb bike I had to order an UberX looking at a $40 ride when Uber Pool was $10. UberX is the cheapest among all the private services Uber offers due to them providing general cars not luxury ones, so my logic here was no one is going to have a fancy car and won’t mind my bike. Oh was I wrong. Uber XL provides larger vehicles for more passengers however they fall under the category of luxury cars and I knew these drivers wouldn’t want my bike.. plus they were around $60.
The strategy was, order the UberX and as soon as the driver was confirmed, call to check if they had space or a bike rack.
First Uber driver
Before he arrived he explained over the phone he had no room, was really apologetic and wished me luck!
Second Uber driver
I called and he said he’d at least try! He arrived at the bus stop, tried every angle, decided it wouldn’t work and had to leave me there. I appreciated the attempt!
Third Uber driver
Again, explained his car was too small over the phone before he even got there (sounded like a fancy car too, fair enough).
FOURTH UBER DRIVER.
Now this is where I started panicking. I called and called this guy and got no answer. I tried for seven minutes and then I saw a vehicle pull up down the road. I approached it and it was SO spacey, a Chevrolet Equinox, so much relief! I said to him I’d been trying to call him for so long to check it was ok to ride with my bike (he had the wrong number registered, helpful.) and he responded with “This is a brand new car”. He’s looking around, looking at me, it’s California, there was no dirt on my bike whatsoever, I cycled the beach path. At this point the tears started in my eyes and I could feel my voice croaking up. I’m like “You’re going to leave a young girl in Santa Monica desperate and alone at 11pm?” “Yeah, sorry”. Well you’re not sorry are you. He drove off, left me there, AND STILL CHARGED ME.
Fifth Uber driver!
This poor guy got the brunt of my emotions and got my whole story of all my rejections through my mumbling sobs. He was the sweetest guy over the phone and said he’ll be there soon and will absolutely try to fit the bike in! George arrived in his Nissan Sentra (not a spacey vehicle at all) and does everything he can to help me in my distress. This guy put down the back seats, put the bike through the boot as far in as he could, but it definitely wasn’t going to fit. He wouldn’t take no for an answer so George half closed the boot, bike handles sticking out and tied it all together with his phone charger to secure it. (HIS PHONE CHARGER!) He found a solution anyway he could.
We get in the car and George drives me 30 minutes back to my hostel with the bike hanging out the boot down the highway. We chatted all the way there about his new business that he’s just started up with Son. (He also asked me a lot of questions about Margret Thatcher.. but let’s not get into that.) His Uber career is just to earn a little extra whilst things get started- That day was George’s first day working for Uber, and I was his sixth ever passenger. I’ve never appreciated a driver so much. It’s true, not all superheroes wear capes.
So the moral of the story is:
-Never get stuck anywhere with a bike you’ve rented and you need to return that day.
-Uber needs to add this Uber Bike/Pedal they’ve been talking about to make our lives easier.
-Some Uber drivers don’t care about you.
-Some Uber drivers will do everything they can to help you!
Sometimes you need the bad to appreciate the good. George, you’re the best. I hope you and your sons business makes you millions!