Grab and go: Bike sharing comes to UCAR/NCAR

Getting around town, and between our organization's sites, gets easier this spring with the advent of Boulder B-cycle. The new bike-sharing program is nearly identical to Denver’s, which became the first large-scale bike-sharing program in the nation when it launched last year. UCAR/NCAR is in on the action, as two of the first bike-sharing stations in Boulder will be located at Center Green and Foothills. The organization will provide memberships for all staff, similar to the Eco Pass benefit.

Over the next year, Boulder B-cycle will be installing 20 bike stations across town that will offer 200 professionally maintained bicycles for short-term rental. Anyone can swipe a credit card at a kiosk to buy a membership ranging from just one day to a full year. The first hour of any ride is free, after which a usage fee of $4 per half hour kicks in. This means that staff could, for example, grab a bike at Center Green or Foothills, ride to Twenty Ninth Street and return the bike at a station there, eat lunch or shop, and then grab another bike for the return trip. By turning in the bike at one destination and checking another out, riders keep the bikes in constant sharing mode and avoid usage fees.

The UCAR/NCAR stations will be located at CG2 in the main thoroughfare between buildings and at the new Anthes Building. The partnership with B-cycle came about when the program was looking for early hosts and eager to work with UCAR/NCAR due to its recognition in the community, says Kimberly Kosmenko, UCAR’s sustainability program manager. As an early adopter and large employer, UCAR was offered the opportunity to lock in bulk memberships at a fraction of the cost to the general public. 

Blue Bike enthusiasts can rest easy, Kimberly says, as the 12-year-old internal borrow-a-bike program remains in service. Once Boulder B-cycle’s red bikes are available for immediate use, Blue Bikes will shift from a self-serve checkout system to direct checkout via the Sustainability program. This change cuts maintenance and administrative costs by reducing the number of missing or lost Blue Bikes, while continuing to support employees and official visitors looking for short-term commuting solutions.