As an avid bicyclist (as some of you may know), I have to admit I was unsure about the bike share system known as B-Cycle. A lot of questions immediately popped into my mind: Who needs to rent a bike? How often would they get returned? Won't these things get destroyed? How can one bike accommodate all body types? I just wasn't so sure about the whole system. But today I had a chance to give it a spin while they gave a demonstration at Discovery World. I have to admit my mind changed pretty quickly. With new forms of alternative transportation growing in Milwaukee (bus, trolley, rickshaw, streetcar, bicycle), the B-Cycle system would be a perfect addition.
B-Cycle is a bike share program that was created by Wisconsin-based Trek, Humana Health Care and ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky and was based around other successful programs in Europe and Canada. The system has already worked quite well all over the country from Denver to Des Moines, Minneapolis to Madison. Patrons can buy a membership (daily, monthly or yearly), swipe their card and just like that, they're off. The first half hour is free to members, but in order to guarantee there are plenty of B-Cycles available to the public, if the bike is borrowed beyond the set limit increasing fees are charged.
While vandalism is unavoidable, it has been surprisingly minimal. Some neat features to keep vandalism down are the adjustable seatpost, which cannot be removed from the frame, and the wheels, which are locked in by a proprietary nut encased in a sleeve that prevents even locking pliers from being able to twist it off. The bikes are locked into the kiosk using a three-point system, so if one lock were to fail the bicycle still can't be removed.
Additional features include a built-in lock (which innovatively doubles as a coffee cup holder when not in use), full fenders, a chain guard to prevent dresses and pant legs from getting chewed up or oily, a bell and a front basket.
The hubs of the wheels are packed f…Read more...