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B-cycle Coming to Boulder and Madison

Published January 26, 2011

MADISON, WI (BRAIN)—Starting next May, Boulder residents and visitors will have access to 200 bikes to get around town as part of the Rocky Mountain city’s B-cycle bike sharing program, which received a $250,000 federal grant. Another B-cycle bike sharing scheme could also kick off that same month in the college town of Madison, Wisconsin, should city council approve plans at its Feb. 1 meeting.

Madison’s finance committee gave the program, which would supply 350 bikes at 35 stations, a nod earlier this week. The city would fund a portion of it, supplying $100,000 per year for three years.

Trek Bicycle Corporation, headquartered in nearby Waterloo, Wisconsin, is supplying the remainder. Trek will put forth more than $1 million into the project to cover startup costs, which include providing the fleets of bikes and the stations where they are locked, according to Trek spokesman Eric Bjorling. Trek will also cover most of the operating costs for the first three years, he said.

Trek’s investment would put the project on a fast track, as startup costs for most bike share schemes are typically covered by a city or federal grant.

“We realize the city and state budgets are tighter now than ever before, but bike share holds a ton of benefit. Madison is our hometown and this is something we’ve wanted to see in Madison for a while,” Bjorling said.

B-cycle is a joint venture of Trek Bicycle Corporation, Humana, a health insurance company, and Crispin Porter and Bogusky, an advertising agency. Since launching its first bike sharing system in Denver last spring, B-cycle has installed bike sharing systems in Chicago, Des Moines, San Antonio and Louisville, as well as a pilot system in Hawaii.

Bjorling said Trek doesn’t anticipate making any money from the program, at least in the first years. But he said any future revenue generated by Madison’s B-cycle would be split evenly between Trek and the city.

Meanwhile, the B-cycle system in Boulder recently got a financial infusion from Google, which donated $25,000 to get it off the ground.

“This generous donation will go a long way in helping us reach our overall fund raising goals,” said Boulder B-cycle executive director Lewis Wolman, whose organization held a fund raising campaign launch party Jan. 14 in downtown Boulder. “We hope other Boulder-area businesses will be inspired to follow suit.”

Boulder B-cycle aims to raise $1 million that along with a $250,000 federal grant will help it reach its goal to sustain itself through membership and sponsorship revenue.

—Lynette Carpiet

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