Nike signs on to sponsor Portland bike share system

Despite being known as the most bike-friendly large city in America, Portland, Oregon, is also one of the few major cities without a bike share system of its own. Now, thanks to a $10 million commitment from Nike, its bike share system will launch this summer with 1,000 orange bikes bearing the classic swoosh. The color is the same shade as the original Nike shoeboxes from 1971.

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The system and the bikes will be known as Biketown, which is fitting as Nike had previously branded its birthplace of Eugene, Oregon, as Tracktown. The bikes will be bright orange and Nike will oversee their design, as well as that of the stations and the system’s digital presence.

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The system is set to launch in July 2016 and will be operated by Motivate, a bikeshare management system used in New York, Chicago, the Bay Area, Washington D.C., Boston, Seattle, Toronto, Melbourne, Australia, and more cities around the world.

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The bicycles themselves will be created by Social Bicycles (SoBi), a Brooklyn-based transportation technology company. A second-generation system, it has the renting and locking mechanisms built into the bikes themselves.

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New bike share system coming to The Ohio State University

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A new bike share system is being planned for one of the largest universities in the nation, and it offers some interesting new features not found on standard models.

Zagster currently operates bicycle-sharing programs at Yale University, Duke University, Princeton University, Santa Clara University and California State University, East Bay. Now it is in negotiations to operate at The Ohio State University.

The system will start with 115 bicycles and 15 stations, delivering a safe and sustainable alternative transportation option for the university community. Zagster hopes to have the system up and running in time for fall classes. In addition to commuter bicycles, the system will eventually include tandem, hand cycle, electric assist, heavy duty and three-wheeled cargo bikes.

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The standard models, built by Breezer, will also have an integrated lock that is controlled by an app so they can be taken off-campus, into town or to a friend’s house and locked safely without a docking setup nearby. In fact, all the electronics that power the system are stored on the bike, so they can only be accessed via smartphone instead of through a kiosk. This helps keep the price down for Zagster’s other bike share clients, namely universities, businesses, hotels and other non-municipal entities.

In conjunction with the bicycle-sharing system, the university plans to expand educational safety programming and implement a helmet program, supported by a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation. Zagster plans to offer students internships and other employment opportunities along with developing research collaborations with faculty.

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Spinlister unveils new peer-to-peer bike share model

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Traditional bike share programs operate as private businesses. A company or municipality owns the bikes and runs the operation and logistics, and (usually) a corporate sponsor helps provide the funding. Spinlister, a peer to peer bike renting app, is hoping to turn the model on its head with a new bike share program launching this year in Portland, Oregon.

Currently the Spinlister service works by allowing users to rent out their own private bicycles, surfboards and snowboards to other users. The new system will actually include a specific bicycle that can be available to users at any time. There is no hub or central station and the bikes will use the city’s existing bike rack infrastructure.

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The bikes, made by Dutch company VanMoof, are still privately owned, but Spinlister says it plans to subsidize and finance the bikes to make the barrier of entry lower, and owners can actually make money with them over time. They will feature an integrated lock controlled by Bluetooth that will allow it to be unlocked with the mobile app. It has an on-board computer that allows it to be tracked by the network and record when and where it is rented. The system will likely come in handy considering Portland’s huge bicycle theft rate.

The bike also has 2-speed Sturmey Archer or 8-speed Alfine hubs, flat-resistant tires, dynamo-powered lighting and an adjustable seatpost. Spinlister says that after the beta test in Portland, maintenance of the bikes will be the responsibility of the owners, but the network will partner with local bike shops for discounts on service.

With all that technology on board the bikes will likely be expensive, though no set price has been established yet. Spinlister says that by earning money renting the bike, owners will be able to bring the price invested down under $1,000.

If all goes well, Spinlister hopes to expand to significant supply density in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Austin. Look for bikes to be arrive in Portland in “late summer.”

 

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NPR: Low-income riders are rare on bike share

Bike sharing systems are meant to make simple and practical transportation options available to more people, but rates of ridership among low-income users is incredibly low. According to Transportation Alternatives, only 0.5 percent of riders on New York’s CitiBike system are categorized as low-income.

[It] may have something do with where the docking stations are located. But the people who run these systems say they’re businesses. And they have to start where the demand for cycling is greatest. Paul DeMaio is a consultant who worked with Capital Bike Share in Washington, D.C.

Systems are forced to go for the low-hanging fruit — the neighborhoods that have the highest density of commercial, of residential. And that are gonna provide the most ridership to help pay for the service. And then hopefully catch up with the outlying neighborhoods as quickly as they can.

But it’s more than just location. Even when these stations are sited in low-income neighborhoods, they often go under-used. Partly, this may be about price. A typical bike-sharing membership costs somewhere between $60 and $100 a year. Many of these systems offer discounts for low-income riders, but they’re not always well-known or advertised.

Listen to or read the full story from NPR here.

 

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