Bike Sharing Comes to Omaha
Omaha B-Cycle has announced that the bike share revolution is here. If you would like to cycle but don’t have a bike readily available, join Omaha B-Cycle and get pedaling. Thirty-five bikes are now wheeling cyclists around midtown. Between Aksarben Village and the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus, five stops are available for members of the public to begin their cycling journeys.
Getting started is easy. You purchase a membership at http://omaha.bcycle.com/ or at any B-station; select a bike from any station; grab a bike and go; and park your bike at any station.
Bikes feature a wide, comfortable seat designed to easily adjust; sturdy frame that’s built low to the ground; fat tires for a smooth ride; and a bell and basket on the front. Cyclists should bring their own helmets. Solar panels at each station are an added bonus of the B-cycle program, sourcing electricity for the stations and kiosks.
The system launched on June 15. As of mid-July the program had 200 members and has had 533 trips, according to Tammie Dodge, project manager at Activate Omaha, which is affiliated with Live Well Omaha.
Live Well and the Community Bike Project established the Omaha program. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska is the founding sponsor, with a donation of $200,000 for the initial system and setup. UNO Student Government donated funds to its station. B-cycle, a Trek-owned company, operates in several other cities in the United States.
Local plans include expanding the program to downtown, north downtown, Midtown Crossing and perhaps further.
A Trial Ride
by Kate Cavanaugh
I too wanted to participate in the B-cycle program, so on a recent Saturday morning I called a friend and asked “Would you like to go on an adventure?” “Sure why not?” was her response. After a beat she said, “By the way, what are we going to be doing?”
“Have you noticed those snazzy bike racks at Aksarben Village? I think we should give them a try.”
Neither my friend nor I are avid cyclers or even occasional users—I think my last time on a bike was … well, I can’t remember it has been so long—but I was subscribing to that old saying “it is just like riding a bike.” I was therefore undaunted by the idea.
I am not at all adverse to physical activity and put some mileage on my walking shoes every week, but I really prefer to put my pedal to the concrete instead of putting my foot to any kind of moving pedal.
We went to the B-cycle kiosk in front of Aksarben Cinema. We put on our bike helmets—safety first—and approached the B-cycle kiosk to get started. As we headed to the Keystone Trail, a young couple returning from a jog asked us where we got the bikes. When we told them they said they were from Minneapolis, where B-Cycle began a year ago and has been hugely successful with continued increased ridership. This encouraging news bolstered our enthusiasm as we pedaled off to the trail.
We got going and loved it. The B-Cycle program is fun and easy. I think it has the potential to be a success with recreational users and to provide a commuting alternative.