Monday, July 16, 2012
One more step: Kansas City B-cycle!
Another plug for Cafe Gratitude (I wrote about this unique new spot in KC here).
During All Star weekend, there was someone stationed with the bikes at the Crown Center location to answer questions and offer help with the new system. The 12 bike stations are centered around downtown as you can see in this map.
Crown Center is as far South as the stations are located, but I am sure it won't be long before they extend into Westport, the Plaza and Brookside.
Check out the website for more information as to how the bike share program works. It seems pretty easy, picking up and dropping off bikes at any of the 12 stations once you have a membership. Memberships can be for 24 hours (the only option at the bike stations themselves) or for 7 days, a month or annually by purchasing online. A 24 hour membership costs $7, annual is $65. Once you have a membership, the first 30 minutes of the bike ride does not have a fee and it is $2 for every half hour after that. The program is designed for short rides and high turnover. Helmets are not supplied but each bike comes with a lock if you stop and park away from the bike stations themselves.
So what do you think? Would you use these bikes or similar ones in your city? Granted, with the summer we're having in KC, riding a bike to a lunch meeting downtown in 100 degree temps would not be ideal. But temps are going to cool off eventually and there will be some beautiful biking days to look forward to.
I can imagine a Saturday morning spent at the River Market followed by a short bike ride over to the Crossroads for some galleries or shopping, and lunch. It could all be done with rides less than 30 minutes each, never incurring a fee on the bikes!
I think this program is great for the city and I'm quite surprised and pleased that Kansas City is in on the early wave of bike share programs in the US. Would you believe that NYC just got one recently? David Byrne, the musician, makes a pretty good case for using a bike share program in cities all over the world. In fact, we recently saw an amazing city bike program while we were in Barcelona.
We looked into grabbing a bike while in the city but there was a week long waiting period for the membership to go through. We were disappointed, but now we know to check ahead for bike share programs next time we travel to a big city. What a great way to see the sights!
FYI, Ryan works downtown so I'm going to have him try out the city bikes and report back! I'd love to hear if anyone else takes one for a spin or uses a similar program in another city on a regular basis. Kansas City has a long ways to go to be a bike friendly city and is in sore need of bike lanes around town. But the popularity of B-cycle could bring attention and awareness to city biking in a way that hasn't been done before. Here's hoping!
Check out the rest of the One More Step series here.