BIKE SHARING

MemphisBikeRacks2012

Greensward

EXPLORE FAVORITE PLACES

Explore Bike Share is a privately funded endeavor to gauge the desire for a bike share system in Memphis and determine how that system will be used by residents. The foundation of the campaign is the feasibility study conducted by Alta Planning in 2012. A lot can change in 3 years – our bicycle infrastructure has grown, ridership and visibility have increased, and the bicycle has successfully worked its way into the global subconscious via myriad advertising campaigns, some even from car manufacturers. As Memphis has grown, so have our needs. Instead of the phased installation approach recommended in the study, Explore Bike Share is proposing nothing less than blanketing the city proper with kiosks and bikes. While Explore Bike Share is intent on bringing bike share to Memphis they are looking for overwhelming community support. You can help by adding your name to the list of supporters at their website.

EXPLORE NEW PLACES

While the speculation is that most bike share income will be generated by local users we can’t forget about tourists, after all, we get about 10 million of them a year. All those people are not going to ship their bikes here to ride and seeing as how the top producing international markets are the UK, Germany, Netherlands and France you can bet that they are used to getting around by bike.

When my wife and I went to Denver a few years ago we had to rely on our family to drive us around. Independent as we are, we felt like a burden. So instead of making them our personal chauffeurs we got dropped off downtown, rented B-Cycles, and visited malls, museums, bike shops, restaurants, and even rented a kayak; and generally bought something at each place. We were able to efficiently navigate a new city while letting our family do what they needed to do. After all the shopping, restaurants, drinks with friends and B-cycle rental we each spent over $500.

With a little more research we could have found rental bikes that probably would have cost 5 times the B-cycle. With a bit of luck we could have found deals on craigslist (cycling meccas like Denver have incredible craigslist ads) and if the bike was good enough, shipped it back to Memphis. That would have been 20 times the cost of the bike share. But as a young tourist, the B-cycle was indispensable.

DenverBCycle

The distance from the Cherry Creek Shopping Center to Confluence Kayaks is about 4.6 miles and everywhere we went was in that area which means our average trip was probably less than 2 miles. For anyone who thinks that Memphis doesn’t have the density to support a bike share system I invite you to spend a day with me and we’ll go from attraction to attraction in times of 20 minutes or less. Music, art, nature, & beer – we’ll see it all.

EXPLORE BIKES

To get people riding bicycles for transportation is a challenge in which certain criteria must be met. These criteria are different for everyone. My threshold of comfort is 20 miles, one direction, where I don’t have to be “dressy” and I don’t have to bike on super busy streets like Poplar for the entire ride. Your threshold might be 1 mile on protected pathways. That’s why Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors.

While it is not practical for some people to ride to work, opting for a bike for a quick errand instead of a car while at work might weigh in on the practical side of things. I used to work downtown and would constantly be walking documents from Monroe to the government buildings. At another job I would sometimes walk from South Main to Peabody. Those seem like short walks but in 96 degree heat I would much rather have had a bicycle. That’s downtown. In midtown, I know of several people who get in their cars to go down the block for lunch. They might share bikes because it makes more sense than getting in a car.

Bike share bikes are built for comfort. They feature wide seats and upright riding positions. Let’s remember that any bike can be uncomfortable if it is adjusted poorly, but there are instructions on the bike share kiosks that demonstrate how to properly adjust seat height. Many people are also uncomfortable with the mechanics of bicycles; fixing flat tires is probably the most common problem. If you get a flat tire on a bike share bike you just park it at the kiosk and grab another bike or if you are out riding there is a number you can call, like AAA for bikes.

cooperyoung

 

We all like to test ride before we buy. Explore Bike Share will be at the following events (with more to be added) and will have two B-Cycle bicycles to test ride.

  • Kids Walking and Biking Festival Saturday, August 15 12-2P Glenview Park
  • Revolutions Co-Op “Bike to Dinner” Wednesday, August 19 6:30PM Revolutions Co-Op to Three Angels Diner
  • Bikes on Broad  Thursday, August 27 Rec Room 6PM
  • Orange Mound Neighborhood Ride with Revolutions Bike Co-Op Thursday, September 3
  • Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market  Saturday, September 5 8AM – 1PM

Portions of this article originally appeared on Fix Memphis.

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