Monday, May 27, 2013

NYC's Citi Bike Launches with Much Excitement

Today the streets of New York City and Brooklyn are filled with 3,000 brand new blue bikes as part of the Citi Bike service which has been many years in the making. There are many articles already in the media about the "yay sayers" and "nay sayers", so this post is about the technological improvements that the equipment provides, advancing bike-sharing in leaps and bounds.

The first of Citi Bike's exciting advances in bike-sharing technology, developed by Public Bike System Company, are a solar mast and a combined key fob and smartcard reader. With New York's skyscrapers, getting sufficient direct sunlight to the ground was an issue that was solved with the addition of a solar mast atop the kiosk. The solar mast is a 5-6' pole that also is about 6" in diameter and collects not direct sun, but ambient light.

 The improved dock includes a dual slot for both the standard key fob and a larger smart card slot for a future multi-transport card, likely to combine both the subway and bikes in the future.

Other minor advances which may not invoke oohs and aahs, but as the program manager for Arlington's portion of Capital Bikeshare, I'm looking forward to bridging that can turn a location with impediments into a feasible site. This bridging can zig and zig around a tree well, manhole, fire hydrant, etc. and transform a space that was too small into a candidate for a station. As every inch of urban space seems to be spoken for, this minor advancement is a big deal.

One "only in New York" advancement is the little circle covering the dock holes on platforms to make room for deliveries. With such large stations, these gaps allow stations to be long while providing space for those deliveries to be made.

While I'm saddened to see Capital Bikeshare lose the title of "Largest Bike-sharing Service in the U.S.", I'm invigorated to have millions more using bike-sharing and furthering this crazy little concept that continues to spread throughout the world like wildlife. In Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York", he sings that if he can make it there, he can make it anywhere. As bike-sharing has been successful everywhere worldwide, it can make it there -- in New York too.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Happy 6th Birthday

Today is the 6th birthday for The Bike-sharing Blog. Time flies as you're pedaling along.

In these past six years, bike-sharing has taken the world by storm. There is no one individual leading the charge, but rather people all over the globe are seeing the value that bike-sharing brings to their city, county, town, or state -- whether it's to lower traffic congestion, improve public health, or increase economic activity around the bike-share stations.

Thanks to the bike-sharing employees who balance bikes from full to empty stations and keep them and the stations functioning. Thanks to the bike transit professionals who manage the services, plan for station locations, partner with friendly neighbors and organizations, and ensure that the services run smoothly. Thanks to the advocates who support bike-sharing in their communities, demand bike-sharing in municipalities where it does not yet exist, and help push the concept to evolve and innovate to better meet the needs of even more people. And thanks to the people who use the service and don't think twice about how bike-sharing has become part of their lives and the urban fabric of their city or town.

There are bike-sharing services on every continent now with millions of people sharing bikes daily. This is a long way from where we started just six years ago. Now tens of thousand of people in New York City and Chicago are anticipating the launch of bike-sharing services this month and next. There have been details of the on-going culture clash between car vs. bike as bike-share stations begin to dot city streets. As other cities around the world have taken to bike-share, so will these too and other cities world-wide as the automobile culture fades and the bicycle culture grows and becomes mainstream. Equity and safety for all.

Thanks for your continued support of The Bike-sharing Blog for these past six years and the next six too.

Paul DeMaio and Russell Meddin

p.s. - Don't forget to check out The Bike-sharing World Map and our new Twitter feed.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bike-sharing Accessories

With everybody around the world either already bike-sharing or about to, we need more accessories to make getting around by bike-share bike easier to do. Whether this means a built-in water-proof seat cover after a drenching rain, a mobile phone charger while you bike, on-bike directions, or a helmet that covers your bald spot so the sun doesn't get through, there are a lot of creative bike-sharers out there who are thinking of ideas to make cycling easier and make a few bucks at it for their entrepreneurial ideas.

Here's an idea from Israel with their TikTak bag which can be used on any Tel-O-Fun bike in Tel Aviv, or any Call a Bike/StadtRad bike for that matter. Check it out.