Explore Bike Share Announces Launch of 600-Bike System

MEMPHIS, TN—Explore Bike Share, a local 501(c)3 with a mission to develop and implement a robust and inclusive bike share system in Memphis, is proud to announce its contract agreement with B-Cycle to bring a 600-bike system to Memphis by Spring 2018.

The B-Cycle Dash system, which represents the cutting edge of new bike share technology and accessibility, will enter Memphis as the largest bike share system of its kind in the nation. Among other features, Dash bikes include a forward-facing, turn-by-turn touchscreen GPS for seamless route recommendations and easy-to-follow directions.

“We couldn’t be more excited to officially partner with Memphis to offer a truly revolutionary type of bike share system,” said Bob Burns, President of B-Cycle, which currently operates 1250 bike share stations and over 10,000 bikes in 43 communities. “Explore Bike Share’s mission is empowering to our work, and we’re proud to share the latest technology and largest, most robust type of system to date—the B-Cycle Dash Smart Bike—with the Memphis community."                    

In line with its mission to enter equitably and resourcefully for all Memphians and tourists—whether for transportation, health or cultural leisure—Explore Bike Share has proposed a full-scale service area to reach high-density areas of Downtown and Midtown, as well as South Memphis, Orange Mound and Binghampton.

“From its inception, Explore Bike Share has vowed to prioritize neighborhood needs, utilizing the system to serve all of Memphis—not just where the city sees density on a map,” said Roshun Austin, Explore Bike Share board member and President/CEO of The Works, Inc.. “We are proud to pursue and execute equity-oriented strategies such as bike safety education, ambassador programs, and workforce development partnerships.” 

Explore Bike Share was formally established in early 2016 with an initial board of directors after a year-long exploration effort by DCA, a creative communications consulting firm. Explore Bike Share’s official launch will illustrate a powerful unity of community partners, private donors, City of Memphis support, and founding members from Memphis’ 20+ zip codes established over the last two years. 

“Explore Bike Share is an exemplary model of public-private partnership,” said Mayor Jim Strickland, Mayor of the City of Memphis. “I am 100% behind the vision of Explore Bike Share and its mission to provide an affordable, accessible, equitable option for our citizens to experience and enjoy Memphis’ public spaces. Bike share will not only expand transportation options and health benefits for our residents, but it will also expand connections and perspectives between our neighborhoods.” 

Upon submitting a purchase order with B-Cycle, Explore Bike Share will pursue a comprehensive implementation plan to build a fully-staffed nonprofit operation, lead site selection and community engagement efforts, further pursue sponsorships, and close the current capital funding gap of less than $1 million. 

“Unlike any other bike share system, the community is truly coming together to make this a reality,” said Suzanne Carlson, Explore Bike Share Vice Chair and Innovate Memphis’ Transportation and Mobility Project Manager. “We encourage all sectors to step up to support Explore Bike Share’s sustainable and robust launch.” 

In addition, Explore Bike Share has been awarded a $2.2 million expansion grant by Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ), a federal improvement program. The CMAQ grant will enable a 2019 expansion of an additional 30 stations and 300 bicycles to Explore Bike Share’s initial footprint.

“One of Memphis’ big opportunities for innovation is transportation,” continued Carlson. “Increased accessibility to transit, pedestrian and bike infrastructure is a critical part of Memphis’ economic growth and overall success, and bike share is an integral piece of that. Being awarded this financial opportunity is a clear sign of Memphis’ move forward.” 

Explore Bike Share’s initial 2015 community input session locations, from the South Memphis Farmers Market to BRIDGES and the National Civil Rights Museum, will be revisited this summer for open neighborhood bike share Q&A sessions and future site selection planning. Event details will be shared in the coming weeks. 

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ABOUT BIKE SHARE. Bike share is an innovative transportation program, ideal for short distance point-to-point trips providing users the ability to pick up a bicycle at any self-serve bike-station and return it to any other bike station located within the system's service area. Today, a total of 4,800 bike share stations operate in 119 U.S. cities.

ABOUT EXPLORE BIKE SHARE. Explore Bike Share is a Memphis 501(c)3 with a mission to create and implement a transportation tool to advance the city on multiple fronts—including but not limited to transportation, tourism, health, environment, and culture—through the development and operation of a bike sharing program with access to as many Memphians as possible. Initially launching with a 600-bike system by Spring 2018, the system will expand to 900 bikes by 2019. For more information, visit explorebikeshare.com.