All this week, Explore Bike Share in Memphis is giving cyclists a taste of what to expect when the program officially launches next spring.
If you've never heard of a bike share program before, this might be the best explanation out there.
"It's kind of like Redbox for videos, except for bikes," says Todd Richardson, a board member for Explore Bike Share.
Explore Bike Share will be a network of 60 stations around Memphis where you can rent bicycles on-demand. Free demo stations will be popping up at various spots in the city the rest of the week, including the Levitt Shell and FedExForum. These demos will be free. Once the program kicks off, all you need to rent a bike is a credit or debit card. Members will also have key fobs for instant access. One of the goals of the Explore Bike Share program will be easily getting your hands on a bike. Later this year, there is also going to be a smartphone app so you can check out bikes whenever you want.
Organizers say they are halfway to their fundraising goal of four million dollars, and riders who pledge their support now will get some extra perks when the program starts.
"It's essentially $15 a month to be a founding member," says Richardson. "That gets you unlimited one hour rides once the bike share program is up and running. You also get an exclusive card saying you're a founding member."
And with the growth of these programs exploding in other cities, there's no reason to think Explore Bike Share won't be a hit in the Bluff City.
"Memphis has got a lot to see and to do. I think with 600 bikes and 60 stations to start, I could see it hitting 100 in a year," says Jake Higdon, a demo coordinator for BCycle, the company installing the stations.
Below is a list of locations and times for the Explore Bike Share demo:
Thursday, July 28th
South Memphis Farmers Market - 9:00am to Noon
Levitt Shell - 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Friday, July 29th
FedExForum (Food Truck Friday) - 11:00am to 2:00pm
For more information on pledging your membership to Explore Bike Share, go to www.explorebikeshare.com.