The program's website has a full english section with everything you need to know. It seem simple and convenient with lots of well located stations.
Instead, we decided to use the bike share program and use my brother as a tour guide. :) He's a good story teller, so no matter what, it would be entertaining. We met with him near the north port and proceeded to buy tickets from a Tel-O-Fun machine. The station was full of bicycles, with a truck and more bicycles out front. And so begins our sad story.
At that station, the barcode scanner was out of order so we couldn't engage the system with our tickets... at this point my brother called the helpline. They suggested we walk to the next station. We did so - under a bit of time pressure.
At the third station, the barcode scanner was also out of order and could not read our tickets! A few other users stopped by and no one with a barcoded ticket was able to use the system.
My brother has an annual subscription, so he was able to use his pass (not barcoded) to get a bicycle. With his Tel O Fun bicycle, he cycled to the next (fourth) station, patience at an end, to see if it was operational. Apparently, the barcode scanner was operational, but it had the same problem as the first station, all the bicycles were marked as out of order and unavailable!
Over an hour had passed from when we had expected to get bicycles, take a nice ride and return them. We didn't have much time left, and frankly, were so annoyed by the system errors that we gave up on the idea. I wish I had prepared a "plan b," such as renting bicycles from one of the many bicycle stores in Tel Aviv, but alas, no plan, no bicycle.
After we giving up on Tel O Fun, we called the service line again and were assured that we'd be given a refund for the tickets we purchased.
At the time of this misadventure, it felt like a terrible disappointing ordeal, but as I write the story down, I realize that we could have just kept trying to find a working station...
I'm curious, were we too impatient? Would you check more than four stations?
More photos of cyclists and cycling in Tel Aviv here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aliannack/sets/72157629674807800/