Update: (2010-April-23) The B-Cycle program has been upgraded and the new information can be found here: Denver B-Cycle Program - Rent a bike
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper unveiled a new citywide bike sharing program – “Denver B-Cycle” – that will, by the summer of 2009 put 500 free bikes on the streets of Denver at 30-40 stations throughout the city.
Visitors, convention delegates and residents will be able to go to a bike station, swipe a credit card, and ride off on a bike to sightsee around the city, attend meetings or run errands. Bike rentals are free as long as the bike is returned to the same location by 10 a.m. the following business day.
All of the bike stations will be situated within three or four miles of downtown and will be near convenient locations such as light rail stations, museums, the Colorado Convention Center, campuses and hotels.
Metro Denver has 850 miles of off-road, paved bike trails, one of the largest bike networks in the nation. And with 300 days of sunshine, Denver has an abundance of pleasant weather for biking – even in winter when streets are generally dry.
The bike program is made possible by a grant of $1 million from the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee, which was responsible for planning the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. The program showcases Denver’s ongoing investment in green initiatives, helping to reduce residential, visitor and convention footprints.
During the DNC, an experimental “Freewheelin’ Bike Program” was tried out with 1,000 free bikes made available to convention delegates. Some 5,552 bike rides were made during the four-day convention with riders traveling a total of 26,416 miles. Based on that success, Denver’s new bike sharing program evolved as a legacy program from the Democratic National Convention.
“The positive feedback we received from the bike-sharing program during the 2008 Democratic National Convention was remarkable,” Hickenlooper said. “We are confident that Denver B-cycle will prove equally popular and provide our residents, visitors and convention delegates with a healthy way to get around our city.”
Denver was recently selected by the Brookings Institute as the fourth most walkable city in the nation because of its compact downtown, pedestrian plazas and intricate network of off-road trails. Two 40-mile-long, paved, off-road bike trails – the Cherry Creek Bike Path and the South Platte River Trail – converge at the exact spot where Denver was founded as a gold mining camp 150 years ago. Denver is also filling the downtown area with bike lanes and “shared lane arrows” to make the city more bike-friendly.
Of course, no program is without challenges. “We expect with so many people on bicycles, we’ll lose some revenue from parking tickets, but that’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make,” Mayor Hickenlooper joked.