B-Cycle offering freedom through a different kind of transportation

The compelling offer presented by The Car (you know, a box, four wheels, an engine, with pollution pouring out the back) is freedom to go wherever you want, whenever you want. The problem is the result we are living with isn’t exactly the beautiful vision of freedom. Is it freedom to be in clogged rush hour traffic that’s bumper-bumper for 10 miles at a stretch? In that kind of traffic it doesn’t matter whether you’re in a 200 mph Ferrari or in a Honda Civic, you’re still going to inch along at 10-15 miles per hour.

B-Cycle offers a different form of transportation, that claims to offer the same freedom promised by cars, and with a fetchingly attractive green alternative to driving cars. It’s a city-wide bicycle sharing program. One rents a bicycle from a kiosk, ride wherever you’re going, and return the bicycle to another kiosk near your destination. The B-Cycle operators take care of all maintenance and other costs. It’s a shared infrastructure, you don’t have to own anything. If properly integrated with a mass transit system it could serve as a leg of an intermodal city-wide green transit system.

This isn’t the first nor will it be the last bicycle sharing system. For example Portland Oregon had a “Yellow Bike” program which is said to have been an amazing publicity success but unsustainable due to theft and vandalism. Other programs exist as a commercial service, such as the Velib system in Paris and Velo’v in Lyon.

Their video message talks about the negative costs of car ownership and commuting by car. Being stuck in traffic sucks away at ones time, and wastes fuel to keep engines idling. Car ownership comes along with yearly costs like insurance, fuel, maintenance, plus gasoline burning cars emit lots of pollution.

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Bicycles are an interesting alternative. They are highly fuel efficient, low resource requirements, and improve the riders’ health. Of course bicycles cannot handle a long commute as well as cars and the highway system. In a multimodal system with mass transit they could handle long commutes but there are certain issues. Do you leave the bicycle at the train station, can you carry it on the train, what if someone steals the bicycle, and the costs to maintain or fix the bicycle, etc?

Their website has a map where allowing one to vote for cities to launch the B-Cycle service. Their twitter account does imply B-Cycle has (or will soon) launch in Denver (http://twitter.com/bcycle/status/2558379003 and http://twitter.com/bcycle/status/1876582109).

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About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

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