Green College Bike share is in full swing. The bikes have received consistent use, and we’ve had nothing but positive feedback. Four is an adequate number of bikes and the array of sizes is meeting the diverse size-needs of the community. They have been designed for optimal heights between 5’4” and 5’10”, but check out this video to see a bike in action with a 6ft lady on-board.
The program is not yet running in its completed form, because there hasn’t been time to hold additional workshops. These workshops will be critical to the success of the program because they provide the information to a) protect the property (there have been numerous times when bikes have been found improperly locked-up); b) ensure proper usage of the bikes and c) promote bike culture and community involvement. During our current transition period, we’ve been letting people use the bikes without having attended the workshop and we’ve experienced a few hiccups as a result.
From the start, we felt that the workshops would be an opportunity to raise awareness about alternative transportation and help participants weigh their interests in bike culture. However, since the inauguration, the importance of relaying basic information has grown. We underestimated the range of experience people have had with bikes AND, in particular, with single-speed bicycles. For instance, we’ve had to repair a front-brake which had flown off because a rider engaged it at too high a speed. The primary braking mechanism is “back-pedaling” which engages the rear tire. Thankfully, the front-brake just flew off or I think the rider himself would have taken flight. Further, one of the pedals had been sheared off a bike. This is the result of a rider taking a steep incline on a single-gear bike. You simply don’t do it; you have to walk. So, these cases suggest there is an important level of practical information to cover in addition to an introduction to bicycling culture. The workshops will always involve a test ride for riders to get the feel for the bikes.
Let’s keep revolving!
Next Workshop: Sunday, September 2nd @10am (meeting point: Green College “Common Kitchen”)
Campus Periphery Bike Tour: Sunday, September 16th @ 9am, @ 10:15am and @ 11:30am (meeting point: Green College “Common Kitchen”)
by Roli Wilhelm
Hello UBC and beyond!
We inaugurated our program on June 30th with with a friendly, local race and a reception with fruit smoothies and homemade French fries. Our beautiful multi-purpose bikes are in the final stages of construction and are having their bells (literally) and whistles put on, including rear-baskets. The relay race took place in a quiet neighbourhood close to Green College (see route map) and it was safe and everyone was welcome to participate in all the festivities. As part of the event, we ran our first workshop for the program with curriculum ranging from safety (i.e. how to test brakes / tire pressure), how to hand signal, how to bike the city in traffic, and to practical things like how to pump up a flat tire and take your bike on the bus. The workshop had a component describing the personal and environmental benefits of a bike-friendly lifestyle and options for car-sharing on the UBC campus (and comparisons of the three companies).
Our hope for devising a high-tech method for reserving and signing out bicycles has been reconsidered due to the lack of affordable software. Zagster is the only publicly available software and it caters to a more sophisticated and medium-scale bike sharing programs. Instead, we have prepared a poster that will act as a reservation and sign-out system (see above). While remote access to scheduling and information on the availability of the bikes would be ideal, having the information displayed at the bike station will be good enough. If you are interested in any of the decals we have made or this poster, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can provide you with the raw files.
That’s all for now, thanks for your interest.
Let’s keep revolving!
We’re starting to kick it into high gear! There is no lack of news to share even though our bikes have still to hit the road (construction @ Bike Kitchen pictured). The slow build time is resulting from an unexpected change-over in staff at the Kitchen and, of course, the timing of the launch: we are competing with spring tune-ups. Still, we’ve continued to grow our organization and our plan.
We have been in contact with a variety of bike-sharing software providers who provide online, up-to-the-minute scheduling and availability charts, as well as user statistics and repair reporting. So far we have a company called “Zagster” (previously “Spark”) who are interested in providing us with a low-cost version of their software. This will really sup-up our product delivery and we greatly improve our user-experience and ultimately our ability to grow / expand.
We have also been in contact with the three commercial car sharing co-ops in Vancouver: Car2Go, Zipcar and Modo, to build a complementary relationship with bike sharing in order to provide residents with all their mobility needs. So far we’ve seen interest from Car2Go and Zipcar, who are interested in implementing a car share in the adjacent parking lot to Green College.
We’ve been contacted by a company in Switzerland interested in surveying the needs of bicyclists regarding the storage and security of their bicycles. We’d like to show case their survey on our blog, so please visit and complete their quick survey HERE. It is important to encourage these companies so that they can develop successful business models that serve the bicycling community.
Finally, we are not alone! There are tons of great resources for bike-sharing ideas and one of the best can be found right HERE. I suggest you look into it and, if you know any city planners, bring it to their attention.
Let’s keep revolving!
Bikes On-Campus, On-Demand
Student residences at UBC, like Green College, attract out-of-town and out-of-country students who arrive without a suitable means of local transportation and who often have substantive need for acquiring basic goods and a connection to the greater community. Bike sharing provides for these early needs and promotes a bike-centric lifestyle to students, which ultimately supports community events, local businesses, the use of green space and ridership on bicycle routes.
The presence of a bike sharing program at Green College will boldly model the level of commitment other UBC residences can make towards sustainability and quality of life issues.
Community-Owned Infrastructure Makes Sense
Sharing bicycles reduces the number of personally-owned bicycles, resulting in a long-term reduction in the resources spent on manufacturing new bikes and replacement parts. And, by intensifying usage, we maximize the returns spent on manufacturing and repairing the bicycles, which can be squandered with irregular personal use. Further with increased demand, our bikes will receive the regular maintenance necessary to extend a bike’s lifespan.
Overview of Services
Green College residents, and the student community at large who may find use of the bicycles, have access to a set of four professionally re-furbished, single-speed bicycles and an array of more motley, but functional, multi-gear bikes. Bikes are located at a single, rain-protected station where users can reserve a bike a week in advance and report the anticipated duration of their usage. The bike station (click HERE for a map) is designed to be a visible reminder of the sustainability issues we collectively face with regards to our energy resources.
- Short-term visitors can access the bikes through special permission from the office, while long-term residents/users must pay a $5 semesterly fee and participate in a workshop.
- Bicycles can be reserved a week in advance on the Bike Share billboard located in the base station just up the path from the front office.
- Bicycles are ride at your own risk. They have been professionally retrofitted by our on-campus bike repair shop, the Bike Kitchen, and possess a lamp, a bell, a basket and a combination lock.
- Bicycling laws in Vancouver stipulate that a rider must be wearing a helmet and have lights on past dusk.
Funding awarded: $1,020
Project started: March 2012