Explore Bike Share to Host Demo Week

By Meagan Nichols, Memphis Business Journal

Explore Bike Share is kicking things into high gear.

The group behind the movement to bring a bike share system to Memphis will hold demonstrations throughout the city Wednesday, July 27 through Friday, July 29.

“One of the things we have discovered in our exploration process of Bike Share is if people are not familiar with Bike Share, they haven’t used one or interacted with one, it is very hard to describe,” said Doug Carpenter of DCA who spearheaded the Memphis bike share initiative.

To help people better grasp the concept, a bike station equipped with B-Cycle 2.0 model bikes will be setup so people can see bike share firsthand.

“It is really a tangible way to engage with the bikes and see how they work,” Carpenter said.

Not only will the events function as demos, but organizers are hopeful it will help encourage people to become founding bike share members, which for $15 per month, allows individuals to have unlimited one-hour bike trips, receive a founding membership card and be recognized on the Explore Bike Share website.

Carpenter said it is “no credit card needed now” simply a commitment to be a founding member. In order to be considered a founding member interested parties must make the pledge by Aug. 3.

There are also options to “Pay-It-Forward” for $200 per year, people can donate bike share use to a Memphian in need or for $500 people can “Adopt A Bike” and have a name, dedication or quote put on the bike.

The demo week of events will start Tuesday, July 26 with a private reception for Explore Bike Share stakeholders. Wednesday, July 26 the public bike demonstrations kickoff at Overton Square from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then head to the intersection of Union Avenue and Main Street from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, July 28 things begin at the South Memphis Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and head east to the Levitt Shell from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Finally, demonstrations wrap up Friday, July 29 outside the FedEx Forum from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of Food Truck Friday.

“We are in different parts of town, different sorts of environments, in places where we would ultimately have the bike stations,” Carpenter said.

A committee to look at the feasibility of a bike share program was launched in June 2015 and the Request For Proposals was put out in September 2015. Fast forward to today and Explore Bike Share is about halfway to its $4 million funding goal and plans to get a system up and running – or cycling – in 2017.

“[We] have a lot of discussions going on in a lot of different areas, and are just hyper focused on that capital raise,” Carpenter said.