Bike share on a neighborhood scale

We’ve talked a lot about various bike share schemes around the world, from Velib to B-Cycle to CitiBike NYC. Most of these setups are huge…with dozens of stations and hundreds of bikes blanketing a city’s central business district.

But what if you want to do it on a smaller scale, without the giant corporate backing? Well, that’s possible, too…take a look at the city of Brno in the Czech Republic:

Buy a coffee, and we’ll lend you a free bike. This is the idea behind a novel kind of bike-share scheme in the Czech Republic, where group of cafes in Brno, the country’s second-largest city, have come together to offer customers free biking. Dropping in for a drink, all users need to do is put down a deposit of 300 Crown ($16) and they get a lock, a folding bike and a request to turn it in at the end of the day at any of the participating centers. Amazingly given some bike-share schemes’ growing pains, organizers have had no problems with abuse or theft since the project started last year.

Read the full article by visiting the Atlantic Cities page.

It’s very cool to see a neighborhood-oriented share system, where local businesses participate! This looks like a fairly easy scheme to set up for smaller cities who might not have the infrastructure in place (or the desire for a sprawling, complex setup) for a larger system as well. It is somewhat reminiscent of “bike libraries” here in the U.S., like this established one in Iowa City.


  1. Mir.I.Am

    This is crasee… but GOOD crasee. I wonder if it has something to do with the people of Brno or the cultures of the Czech Republic? I can’t imagine people NOT stealing a folding bike and then losing their $16 deposit. Then again, I did participate in a completely free government-sponsored bike share program in Buenos Aires and I never stole a bike… But they had a copy of my passport!

  2. JaimeRoberto

    I lived in Central Europe for several years. There’s lots of bike sharing there. It’s called theft.

  3. Ghost Rider

    @JaimeRoberto — ha!

    I remember a few years back (1997), the city of Tampa tried a “Yellow Bikes” grassroots bike share program. Not a single bike remained after about a week…they ALL disappeared:

    I suspect there’s a little more than just a $16 deposit. It may be the culture, or there may be more hoops to jump through. Either way, I applaud their efforts!

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