From the hottest days of summer to the snowiest days of winter, bicyclists can be seen getting around the city on their two wheels. In such a bike friendly city with paths as well as a commitment to safely sharing roads between motorists and bicyclists, it makes sense that B-cycle saw an opportunity in Madison.
Urban bike sharing provides an economical, convenient and environmentally friendly way to use bikes for trips that are too far to walk but too short to drive. In 2010, B-cycle launched the first large-scale smart-technology bicycle sharing system in the United States in Denver.
The Madison B-cycle program began a year later with six stations and about 60 bikes. In just two years, the program has grown to 350 bikes and 35 stations. The program is the result of a partnership between the City of Madison and Trek Bicycle Corporation headquartered in nearby Waterloo, Wisconsin.
Here’s how it works. B-cycle memberships may be purchased online or at any B-station. Members may check out a bike at any B-cycle station and ride to the B-station nearest their destination. To start a new trip, they simply check out another B-cycle. The system is designed to encourage shorter trips, therefore, trips longer than 30 minutes incur additional fees.
B-cycle currently has systems operating in more than 25 U.S. cities. In addition to Madison and Denver, B-cycle can be found in Boulder, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Houston, Salt Lake City, Charlotte, Nashville and Broward County. In 2014, Milwaukee unveils its very own B-Cycle.