The 9:01: Bike Share

CHRIS HERRINGTON | THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL

Let Them Ride Bikes: If the Overton Gateway project does go forward, here’s betting they’ll have a bike share station nearby. Explore Bike Share, the Memphis effort at the kind of public bicycle sharing program becoming increasingly common around the country (I saw some bike share stations in Birmingham while traveling a couple of weeks ago), cleared a major hurdle. The program today announced a partnership with vendor B-Cycle to launch a 600-bike fleet in Memphis next spring. Wayne Risher has more info here.

Reps from Explore Bike Share were test-driving an earlier B-Cycle model during recent Freewheel Slow Rides. The model that will be deployed in Memphis, the B-Cycle Dash Smart Bike, is equipped with touch-screen GPS display for route recommendations and turn-by-turn directions. The program will initially be focused in the Downtown/Midtown area, including Orange Mound, Binghamton and South Memphis.

One realization I had from participating in the Freewheel Rides is how manageably connected the core city is. The sense is that Memphis is too spread out, but within the core everything is close enough for easy biking. The bigger hurdle is safer connections alongside car-oriented streets. But that infrastructure is improving all the time. The hope for Explore Bike Share might be in arriving at a tipping point when more cyclists and potential cyclists see city biking -- as opposed to greenline biking --  as viable.