Is there no better day to start a two wheel bike-sharing revolution than on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day? Well, Denver B-cycle is giving it a spin with the launch of the largest bike-sharing system in the United States. At 12 noon mountain time on Earth Day 2010, Denver, the mile high capital of Colorado, will start its new system with over 360 bikes in 40 stations. Within weeks there will be 500 bikes in 50 stations. The goal is to have a 1000 bike system in 2011.
Already a large number of subscribers have signed up to use the system. The yearly subscription is $65 with student and senior discounts. There are $30 monthly, $20 weekly and $5 day fees. Annual subscribers get an RFID "B-card" which allows skipping the kiosk and swiping the card at the bike to use it. As usual, the first 30 minutes usage is at no charge, then the longer the bike is used, the more the fees. The system is easy to use, watch this video. Watch the Denver CBS4 newscast .
The stations use wireless communications, but some are solely solar powered, some are hard wired for power and some are a hybrid of the two depending on the amount of light available to the station. The system is run by a non profit organization, Denver Bike Sharing. To financially help support the system, sponsorships of the bicycle baskets, the stations, and even the system are offered. The presenting sponsor of the program is the health care giant Kaiser Permanente. We all know more bicycling makes for a healthier lifestyle. B-cycle, a joint venture between Trek Bicycles, the health management company Humana, and PR firm Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, has equipped the Denver bikes with a GPS system so individual users can track the health benefits and the distance of their ride. Plus, the GPS system can keep track of the bikes' routes.