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Get excitedChicago finally has a bike-sharing system! Frickin' finally is what we say. Back in early July when we released our Complete Guide to Bike Sharing in North America, Chicago didn't even make the cut, and thankfully they're now working on that.
Our Windy City connection @jaredhatch_com tweeted a photo of one of the newest bike sharing stations recently, this one directly at the base of the tourist-favorite John Hancock Center. It's also across the street from the Westin Hotel, so it's obvious that Chicago wants more than locals to take advantage of the program.
Bike sharing in Minneapolis
Update August 2010: Chicago finally has begun their own bike sharing program with the folks from Denver's B-Cycle. See more information on it here.
Bike Sharing is not all bikini-wearing girls and hot, muscled guys pedaling along as Miami would have us believe, but it is a very attractive, eco-friendly addition to the urban infrastructure, and cities across North America are either already installing solar-powered bike rental kiosks or studying those that have.
Paris' popular Velib program is the best known, but would you have guessed that Minneapolis is rolling out the largest system in the US, and that Mexico City plans to have 6,000 bikes scattered around their neighborhoods? It's not just Europe having all the two-wheeled fun. Check out our guide to North America's cities that bike share:
Minneapolis: Nice Ride, by the makers of Montreal's Bixi system, is entering Phase 1 with 1,000 bikes in 80 locations. They'll be all over downtown and at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities' campus. The first 30 minutes are free but you can get 24 hours for $5 or an annual subscription for $60. [Nice Ride]
You may know the Velib bikes of Paris or the SmartBike system of Washington DC, but you've never seen bike sharing like this. Miami is getting in the green groove by installing new DecoBike stations all around the Art Deco district and Miami Beach, and they are doing it in the sexiest way possible.
Like with other bike sharing systems, you must first join online and then you are free to opt for either a monthly pass for unlimited use or pay-per-hour. And just to get people interestedand away from slowly cruising in convertibles down Collins AvenueDecoBike is promoting itself using images of hot girls and guys riding their bikes, plus a promotional video that touts the weight loss and health benefits of bike riding. Way to play up to the body-focused culture of South Beach!
2009 seemed to be the year that bike sharing programs blossomed, as everywhere from Montreal to Rio de Janeiro set up racks and programs to get their citizens cycling. And although we told you yesterday all about how to get your own bike on the plane with you, bike sharing programs are just as cool and convenient...if you're in a city that has one.
Up until now, the only US city to offer bike sharing was Washington DC with their Smartbikes, but it was recently announced that Denver is going whole-hog with their bike sharing program, called B-Cycle. Registration is already open for the city-wide program, and they're planning on offering 45-50 stations with 500 bikes from late April. Perhaps Google's move to map Boulder's 360 miles of bike paths gave them a little kick in the seat to get things going in Denver?
So how much is it? Find out, after the jump
Bike Sharing / Biking / Velib / Travel Websites / Bicycling / → All Tags
Our number one travel biking request here at Jaunted is for cheap, Velib-style bike-sharing in every city on earth, but until that happens, we’ll settle for a national bike rental service that makes hopping on two wheels as easy as renting a car.
On the path to this is RentaBikeNow.com, a web-based company that partners with bike shops to provide rentals in 157 different cities across the U.S. and Canada. The site launched a few months back and got a boost recently when Lance Armstrong’s coach, Chris Carmichael, shouted them out on twitter.
Bike Sharing / Montreal / Canada / Bicycling / Bixi / → All Tags
Following the huge success of Paris' Velib bike sharing program, we've been wondering how long it would take for North American to get in on the action. Leave it to Frenchy Montreal to show everyone up by being the first on the continent to put the pedal to the metal.
Launched last week, the Bixi program (a combo of "bike" and "taxi") puts aluminum Montreal-made bicycles on the streets, available for rental with annual memberships of $75, a daily rate of $5, or per-hour pricing following a free first half-hour. By June 7, the city is aiming to place 3,000 of the bikes at 300 hubs around the city, and your rented Bixi may be picked up at and returned to any of them.
And these babies weren't named one of Time's top 50 top inventions of 2008 for no reason; the bike docks are equipped with wireless RFID technology which can immediately signal if one is defective, and the pay station itself is touch-screen with energy support from solar panels. According to the Vancouver Sun, this model of bike sharing in Montreal is what's being studied for the future in other bike-desperate cities like New York and London. Bring it on!
If cities like Milan, Shanghai, and Mexico City can enjoy successful bike rental programs, then we've been wondering when a South American capital would climb aboard the eco-friendly trend. As it turns out, Rio de Janeiro quietly launched their own bike sharing program last November, which welcomes tourists with open arms (or handlebars).
Appropriately named Samba, which in Portuguese conveniently means "Alternative Mobility Solution though Bike Renting," Samba is using this spring and summer to build up to 42 stations with 500 total bikes by the end of the year; it's a small number compared to Paris' Velib and its 20,600+ bicycles, but nonetheless a great start.
Originally set to roll out a 2,000-bike program sometime in the middle of this year, there might be some delays now that one of the main contenders to run the bike share has pulled out. The company is blaming that "the deterioration of the global economic climate," as they so nicely put it, and will leave the risk up to someone else.
Now the Brisbane council's not quite sure when the bikes will be on the street, but they are sure that it'll happen, with around 150 drop-off and pick-up points across the city. Someday. Soon.
Milan is the latest city to introduce a bike sharing scheme, with 72 stations, hundreds of bikes currently and plans to grow. Right now, it's only available by yearly subscription (€25, $36), but come January, weekly ($9) and daily ($4) rates--that include your first 30 minutes of bike use for free--will become available for purchase online or at select "ATM Points" in the city. Not bank machines, they're offices of Azienda Trasporti Milanesi, the local transit authority, which you can find in a number of subway stations.
BikeMi is yet another partnership with Clear Channel, the advertising company that's helped set up similar programs in Barcelona, Rennes, France and Washington, DC.
Perhaps the coolest thing about BikeMi is the live-updated Google Map that shows you not only where "rental" stations are but how many bikes and empty parking slots are available. Get to the Duomo now and you'll have your pick of 10 bright-orange rides.
[Photo: Ambrosiana Pictures]
The Momentum B-cycle project will have daily, weekly, monthly and yearly passes available and will also work via credit card deposit. After buying a daily pass for $4 or a weekly pass for $10, your first half-hour will be free, the next 30 minutes will cost $2 and the next another $5. Keep the bike for 48 hours, and you'll buy it for $900.
While no locations have been secured just yet, a project spokesman says many Waikiki-area businesses are interested in hosting bike stations. Potential locations include the Aloha Tower, Ala Moana Shopping Center, the Honolulu Zoo and Sans Souci Beach.
· Shuttle Bikes May Start Next Spring [Honolulu Advertiser]
· Hawaii's Newest Tourist Attraction: Commuter Rail? [Jaunted]
· Bike Sharing Travel: Options around the World [Jaunted]
This time it's London's turn to announce a bike sharing system, which might make it practically compulsory for other Olympic cities in the future. London's version doesn't have a cool name yet (or even an uncool one)--they're just at the stage of finding companies who want to run it. But keen cyclist and mayor Boris Johnson is promising to start off with 6,000 bikes with 400 different "docking stations."
They're proposing a sensible deposit for using a bike (presumably a credit card swipe will do) but also an annual fee, which isn't very tourist-friendly. It also won't be too friendly if the bikes aren't ready for the 2012 Olympics; mayor Boris wants bikes circling London by 2010 but they've got a long way to go.
Of all places, China seems like the last that would need a snazzy bike-sharing system. But officials are indeed kicking off a cycling scheme, similar to the Velib program in Paris, in hopes of getting people moving by pedal power.
Shanghai transit authorities launched the new system to coincide with World Car Free Day a couple weeks ago, and they're looking to get the citizens excited for the theme of the 2010 World Expo, "Better City, Better Life."
To encourage short trips and fast turnover the first half hour will be free; you'll pay up to three yuan (50 cents) an hour after that. There's also a 200 yuan ($29) deposit per rental, as a friendly reminder that, uh, it's not your bike.
· Bike-sharing's Biggest Friend: Shanghai [Bike-sharing Blog]
· Shanghai Launches Paris-style Bicycle Rental Program [AFP, via Google]
· Bike Sharing Travel: Options around the World [Jaunted]
[Photo of Vancouver's shared bikes: sillywailo]