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.