Fargo to kick tires on bike sharing system B-Cycle

B-cycle to demonstrate system in metro

FARGO – A bike-loving city commissioner and a raft of like-minded Internet voters have convinced a bicycle-sharing firm that lets users pay to cycle its bikes around cities to demonstrate the system here.

By: Helmut Schmidt, INFORUM


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Fargo led bike-sharing program B-cycle’s “Who Wants It More?” online contest on Friday with more than 200,000 votes. Special to The Forum

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FARGO – A bike-loving city commissioner and a raft of like-minded Internet voters have convinced a bicycle-sharing firm that lets users pay to cycle its bikes around cities to demonstrate the system here.

Mike Williams, a Fargo city commissioner and local “spokes”-person for alternative transportation, led the push to get a demonstration from B-cycle.

It will be an important opportunity to “kick the tires” and see if the system will work here, he said.

He first invited B-cycle officials to come to Fargo back in June. But B-cycle didn’t put Fargo on the front burner until it blasted past Rochester, N.Y., to top the firm’s “Who Wants It More?” online contest, he said.

Williams, who promoted the contest on his AreaVoices blog and Facebook, said, “The guy (from B-cycle) said they’d never seen this type of activity.”

Fargo led voting Friday with 224,352 votes. Rochester was second with 194,477 votes; Cleveland was third with 147,471 votes; and Moorhead was fourth with 27,778 votes.

Lee Jones, director of sales and marketing for B-cycle, confirmed Friday that B-cycle planned to visit Fargo.

No firm date has been set, but Jones said his firm would like to show off the system during one of the Streets Alive! events scheduled Aug. 28 and Sept. 18.

During Streets Alive!, a 3-mile loop around downtown is closed to vehicles, and use is restricted to bicycles and pedestrians.

Jones said Fargo is big enough for the system, and cold weather hasn’t been an obstacle to getting bike-sharing to work elsewhere.

“I can’t wait to meet some of the folks up there that really got behind this. It’s pretty incredible,” he said. “We’re definitely looking forward to getting up there, to have the opportunity to explain what bike sharing is all about.”

Williams saw the system in use in Denver and Madison, Wis. Fargo’s pied piper of “green” transportation said that if the system looks viable, the next step would be to find a nonprofit group willing to run the system and then find financing.

“It fills a little niche. It can add a little fun. And it’s a way to make connection between transit routes,” said Williams.

B-cycle is a joint venture between health insurance giant Humana Inc., Trek Bicycle Corp. and advertising and design agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

The first of its bike-sharing systems started in Denver in April 2010. It was followed by systems in Hawaii, Chicago, San Antonio, Omaha, Des Moines, Boulder, Colo., Madison, and Spartanburg, S.C.

B-cycle bikes are low-maintenance, cruiser-style bikes developed by Trek. Each has a data-tracking system that calculates mileage, calories burned and carbon pollution kept out of the air by its use.

The docking stations are solar powered, making them easy to move.

Memberships can be purchased for a day or a year.

Jeremy Christianson, manager of the Great Northern Bicycle Co. in downtown Fargo, said B-cycle would fit in with the city’s growing bike culture.

“I think anytime you can get people involved in cycling, it’s good,” he said. “Anything to get people thinking about it is good.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

~End Article~   See story online here  Thanks for the fun article Helmut!  Here’s more of the “raft” of super people that made this happen:

 

Fargo’s #1 position in B-Cycle online competition brings bike share demonstration to town

Posted on July 7, 2011 by Mike Williams

Good work all, the B-Cycle website is smokin! Just spoke to the B-Cycle system coordinator they’ll be sending their traveling demonstration team and bringing a few bikes and solar powered docking stations to Fargo to demonstrate the bike share system in early September!

WaHOOO!!! Fargo’s sprinted past Rochester NY to #1 in the national online B-Cycle race! 212,600 votes, over 100,000 in less than a day! Thanks to all the Fargo Super Team for leading the way in this B-Cycle competition for them to select Fargo and bring their bike share demonstration team here for us to check it out!  I invited them in early June to try to arrange a visit here this summer, racing into 1st place in a week sure helped make it happen.

Fargo’s now flown by over 299 cities, and rocketed by Rochester NY into 1st place in the nation. What’s B-Cycle about?   Here’s a neat article about the San Antonio B-Cycle bike share system:

No wonder some call him â€œThe Jared of B-cycle.”

In only three months, Phillip Schrank has logged more than 750 miles using San Antonio’s bike-share program, shedding about 45 pounds. He’s B-cycle’s No. 1 user and like the Subway spokesman he’s been compared to a natural booster.

“I call myself the spokes-person” Schrank jokes.

Since the downtown bike share launched this spring, B-cycle users have logged more than 32,400 miles. Some, like Schrank, ride for health reasons, others use the bikes for transportation or just for fun. Many are also enjoying a burgeoning sense of community among riders.

~End article~

So we’ve convinced the B-Cycle system coordinator to arrange a trip for their bike share demonstration crew to come here, thanks to Fargo’s Super team that assembled and pedaled and clicked fast past the competition.  Great work and great news Mr. Fantastic (aka Pete Trelstad) Wonder Woman Susie Ekberg Risher, Superman Jack Sunday, Green Lantern John Jorgensen, The Flash Barry Nelson, Iron Man Frode Tilden, Batman Rory Beil, and all you Fargo Superheroes! Poor Rochester didn’t know what hit em.

You can help keep the lead by going to this link and simply entering your Fargo area zip code: http://bcycle.com/whowantsitmore.aspx

Wonder Woman a.k.a. Susie Ekberg Risher

 

Batman a.k.a. Rory Beil

 

Iron Man a.k.a. Frode Tilden
Mr. Fantastic a.k.a Pete Trelstad

 

Green Lantern a.k.a John Jorgensen
Superman a.k.a Jack Sunday 

The Flash a.k.a. Barry Nelson

 

Keep on clicking you bicyclists! Our goal was to pass Las Vegas (Currently #10) to be in the top 10 by the 4th of July, and we did that on July 1st. On July 6th we passed Rochester NY for 1st place with over 213,000 votes, we had over 100,000 in one day!

Keep putting in your zip code and spreading the word if you’d like to see B-Cycle bike share program in our area.

Visit the B-Cycle bike ride share site and enter your zip code here

Many of the comments at Fargo’s public outreach and input at the GO2030 townhall mindmixer online and opening session are centered around a more active community with more walking, biking, and transit opportunities. This might be a good fit?

Denver was the first site for this private, non-profit, bike sharing program. Now Minneapolis has the most bikes and stations in the country. Other cities with four seasons such as Madison Wisconsin, and Des Moines, Iowa also have the bike share system in place. They do shut down in the winter, even in Denver.

The stations are solar powered and use a membership card system to access a bike. It’s not meant as a bike rental system, it’s programmed to help folks get from place to place and dock it when you arrive.

 

How B-cycle Works

Follow these easy steps

Sign In

Sign up online or purchase a 24-hour membership at a B-station.

Select

Choose a bike from any B-station.

Ride

Grab your bike and go.

Return

Park your B-cycle at any B-station

 

Keep putting in your zip code and spreading the word if you’d like to see B-Cycle bike share here.

Visit the B-Cycle bike ride share site and enter your zip code here

Avatar of Mike Williams

About Mike Williams

Name: Mike Williams Location: Fargo, North Dakota Website: http://www.electwilliams.com Occupation: Risk Manager Family Mutual Insurance Fargo City Commissioner since 2004, re-elected in 2008 and 2012 About Me: I'm a pragmatic optimist that's grateful for all the wonderful people in my life
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