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Tag Archive: bike sharing

St. Olaf’s “Green Bikes” Program

Here’s a cool story that appeared in my inbox the other day, as forwarded by David Gonnerman, media relations person for St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota:

When Rajan Bhandari ’12 wants to get to class, go shopping, or just take in a change of scenery, he heads to the library.

That’s where he can check out one of St. Olaf College’s new “green bikes.” The fleet of 19 new Trek commuter bicycles available for students to use is three times larger than last year. A checkout system for the bikes is administered through Rolvaag Library, and a covered, two-tiered rack housing the bikes is located just outside the library.

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Green Bikes, St. Olaf College’s student-managed bike-sharing program, has existed for nearly five years, but it is only in the past two years that the program has really taken off. Initially, it was hampered by maintenance and accountability issues as well as a lack of quality bikes. During his four years at St. Olaf, Daniel Novak ’11 led a student effort to transform Green Bikes into a successful operation. The hard work finally paid off last spring, when Green Bikes was awarded a grant that enabled it to purchase a new fleet of bikes from Milltown Cycles.

Read the rest of the story by clicking here. Campuses across the nation are turning to bikes as a means to get students around the area — it’s a smart solution, as many colleges are overcrowded with cars and insufficient/expensive parking. St. Olaf gets extra props for administering this Green Bikes program through their library (for those of you who don’t know: when I am not enjoying life as a quasi-celebrity bicycle blogger, I am a mild-mannered librarian).

Got a college campus bike share story to relay? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

A New Spin on Bike-Sharing Schemes

You may have read about the following elsewhere, but it is worth sharing here, too. Our friend Frederick sent a link to an article on Wired’s site about a novel concept in city bike-sharing setups. This one is from a startup in New York City called Social Bicycles (SoBi) and operates without dedicated kiosks or other infrastructure, and at a fraction of the per-bike cost of other bike-sharing schemes like Velib or B-Cycle. And, it has some really cool features that make the setup eminently user-friendly.

From Wired’s article:

SoBi doesn’t use cycle stations; the bikes are parked throughout the city (starting in New York) at regular racks. Bikes could, in fact, be anywhere at any given time, not just at a designated station that could be blocks away. Users can grab any bike that isn’t already reserved and drop it off anywhere. No need to search for a drop-off station.

Like a Zipcar, each SoBi bike has its own “lockbox? (shown above) that communicates wirelessly with SoBi servers via GPS and a cellular receiver (an H-24 module from Motorola). When you make a reservation online or via smartphone, a map displays all the bikes in the area and gives you the option of unlocking a specific bike by clicking on it.

Read the full article by visiting Wired.

If this scheme is successful, such technology and the relative ease of the setup may encourage other cities to try their hand at bike-sharing.