We asked for the our friend Cheryl Sussel, creator and driving force of the Cinci Holiday Bike Drive to write up what the project has been up to over the last year and what we can look forward to in 2014. Check out her story:
Bicycle mechanics hear many stories — stories of broken spokes, miles ridden and races won. But the most commonly heard story is about a person’s first bicycle. Often it is the story of how the person’s first bicycle introduced them to their love of bicycling.
It is these stories that compelled a small group of bicycle mechanics to start the Cinci Holiday Bike Drive — we hope to bring the joy of bicycling to low-income children in Cincinnati. The volunteer-run project simultaneously aims to improve family and child health by promoting cycling in the community.
Last December we held our first Bike Giveaway Day. We gave 46 children a refurbished bicycle and their own “first bicycle story.”
“One thing we’ve seen is these bike shares have taken off wherever they start,” said Jason Barron, executive director Cincy Bike Share, Inc. “Demand picks up when people have alternatives. And when they have alternatives, they really embrace them, really get excited about them and take them on. So we’re pretty confident that we’ll see that exact same effect here.”
How it works
While a relatively new concept to the U.S., Barron explained bike shares have been operating successfully throughout Europe and Asia for more than a decade. Unlike bike rentals, where users keep the same vehicle for the entire day, bike share stations are designed for riders to take short trips from point to point, docking their bike after each ride.
Day passes and memberships include 30 to 45 minutes of free rides with fees incurred for additional time. Barron explained the system is designed for users to travel distances too far to walk within the downtown area without having to use a car.
“We’re almost like a new system of transit in Cincinnati,” he said. “So while we’re nothing like Metro busses, we’re the same kind of amenity. It’s something people can use to get around.”
Cincy Bike Share Phase I:
Proposed launch: summer 2014
Estimated 20 docking stations with 200 bikes (10 per station)
Locations: central downtown area and Over-the-Rhine (yet to be determined)
Estimated membership cost: $75 to $85 per year, daily pass $6 to $8
With initial startup costs of $1.3 million and $500,000 to operate annually, Barron said Cincy Bike Share–a nonprofit–still needs most of its funding and is seeking corporate sponsors. Funding in other cities varies from a single corporate sponsor, like the Citibank-sponsored bike share in New York City, to multiple sources as in Denver.
Cincy Bike Share already has some money from the Haile Foundation and Interact for Health, but has a long way to go. Since stepping into the role of executive director in December, Barron said his top priority has been to aggressively pursue financial backing for the project. He’s hoping other sponsors will be attracted by the buzz other companies throughout the world have gotten by attaching their names to similar programs.
“Businesses that become sponsors for bike shares have seen a great benefit to their brand; it turns out to be a really unique and powerful advertising opportunity,” he said. “For instance, Citi Bike in New York sponsored by Citibank reported their internal analysis showed numbers of ‘favorable impressions of Citigroup’ jumped 17 points from May to July, essentially the first three months that bike share was open.”
Will it catch on?
Once Cincy Bike Share secures funding, Barron plans a robust marketing campaign for its launch. He sees potential for selling bulk memberships to downtown: to businesses for their employees and apartment buildings for their residents.
He said as former director of public affairs for Mayor Mark Mallory, he recognizes the increased demand for urban living among young professionals, empty-nesters, corporate executives and families. He believes a bike share is the exact type of urban amenity which acts as a catalyst to increase residency.
“It makes for a better lifestyle downtown because it makes for a better experience,” he said.
If the first phase of Cincy Bike Share takes off, the service could expand to uptown and Northern Kentucky. He feels confident in the success of the program, as operators have perfected the system.
Barron said past bike shares in other cities have failed to thrive because there were enough stations in close proximity to meet the need. With the initial 20 docking stations, he explained the Cincy Bike share will evaluate and adjust locations based on feedback.
“So hopefully, you’ll be able to park anywhere in the city and you won’t have to seek out a bike station because they’ll be all over the place – and that will contribute to the success because it’s so convenient,” he said.
So, Cincinnati safe for bicyclists? According Melissa McVay, city planner with the Department of Transportation and Engineering, as part of the 2010 Bike Plan, the city continues to add dedicated bike lanes and “sharrows” (shared car and bike lanes) to increase safety.
“Research tells us having that separated space in the street is one of the things that makes people feel safer and encourages exponentially more people to start bicycling for transportation. That’s really important,” she said.
Riding on city streets can be intimidating at first McVay said, but she explained downtown is a great place to learn because of the slower speed limits and predictable traffic patterns. She points to studies from cities across the country that show installing bike shares increases the number of riders on the streets, in turn making the streets safer; when more riders take to the streets, motorists become far more accustomed to sharing the road.
“There’s literally safety in numbers,” McVay said. “When the number of people riding bicycles in your community goes up, the percentage of accidents actually goes down.”
The path to bike share
The idea for the bike share grew out of the Cincinnati USA Chamber’s Leadership Cincinnati program in 2011. Then, in 2012, the City of Cincinnati conducted a feasibility study comparing similar cities with systems in place.
The conclusion? That bike sharing was a viable concept for the region. Next, Cincy Bike Share Inc. forged a partnership with B-Cycle, LLC which operates bike share programs in more than 25 other cities around the country. Next, Green Umbrella stepped up to serve as an interim fiscal sponsor fo until the IRS approves the new nonprofit’s tax-exempt status.
“We can be a nonprofit, fiscal agent for initiatives that are clearly helpful for improving the quality of the environment and promote our broader agenda of making Cincinnati one of the top 10 most green, sustainable metro areas in the country by 2020,” said Green Umbrella executive director Brewster Rhoads.
From a “green” standpoint, Rhoads said, there are a number of benefits of the program–beginning with reduced emission from cars on the streets. He explained people can avoid the hassle factor of taking cars in and out of garages during the day to make short trips. Secondly, he said bike share programs promote a healthy lifestyle by increasing activity and connecting people to the outdoors. He said it also connects the city, allowing people to venture further and explore.
“And finally, it’s encourages public transit, which is another goal that we have,” he said. “We’d like to increase the number of people who regularly use public transit in Greater Cincinnati which has obvious environmental benefits as well.”
The biggest marketing tools for bike share are the stations themselves, Barron said. He believes people seeing the stations will tap into “the inner child just dying to get back on a bike.”
“The stations will be 20 advertising locations throughout the city where people can stop by and learn about the system and purchase memberships right there,” he said. “We’re hopeful that the downtown phase will be really successful and it will kind of really push the other phases to follow it.”
Seek Medical Attention. You may not realize how injured you are in the confusion of a crash.
Call the police. Insist that the police come to the crash site and file a report. Request a copy of the crash report from the officer.
Collect information. Get drivers license numbers, insurance card info, license plate (especially in the case of a hit-and-run), witness name and contact info, document injuries and damage with photos, keep your medical documents and receipts.
Consider Legal Action. You may want to take legal action. You also may want to speak with a lawyer before speaking with an insurance company. Legal options may include criminal prosecution or suing an offender. For more assistance with legal matters, please write us at email@example.com.
Reporting a Crash
Report both bicycle crashes and incidents of harassment with the City of Cincinnati here. Choose the “Bicyclist Incident” option in the right hand column.
Report any incidents with METRO buses AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Be sure to record
Day and time
Bus # and/or route number/name
Detailed description of what happened
Please send this information to
Sallie Hilvers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-632-7681
or Jill Dunne at email@example.com or 513-632-7568.
My e-bike makes it a pleasure for me to commute for work, a ride of about 14 miles from Pleasant Ridge to Milford. I like to bike two or three days per week in warm weather, and one or two days per week most weeks in the winter. When I bike to work I look forward to the morning ride and to the trip home in the evening.
Ray and his e-bike
My wife, Leah, and I have hybrid trail bikes we use mostly for rides on bike trails. For commuting and shopping trips and such, we have e-bikes.
Typical e-bikes have front or rear hub motors, a battery pack, and wiring that includes a throttle system. Inexpensive e-bike systems, available for a few hundred dollars, use cheaper batteries and are best for trips under ten miles. More expensive systems, ranging from $1000 to $3000, have greater range and power. I have also looked at reasonably priced gas-motor assist systems, but they were too noisy, finicky, and smelly for my liking. Battery-powered systems are relatively quiet and easy to maintain. I’ve seen a few other e-bikes and e-trikes around Cincinnati, so they are becoming more common. Continue reading →
Want to encourage bicyclists to attend your community event? Queen City Bike Valet is a great answer to finding enough secure bike parking for festivals, fairs, concerts, sporting and other outdoor events. Bike Valet is convenient and easy to use: we set up a secure area and watch attendees’ bikes for them while they enjoy themselves.
Bike Valet not only makes your bicycling attendees feel specially taken care of, but you are encouraging alternative transportation to your event, as well as freeing up valuable parking spaces for even more guests.
Pricing for your event varies based on the size and scale (Discounts for non-profits, churches, and schools). For more information about rates and to reserve Bike Valet for your event please contact Nern at 513-205-3059 or Nern@QueenCityBike.com.
The total number of 18 riders throughout our trip we covered over 70 miles up to Morgan’s Riverside Campground and back to Newtown OH.
Our bike gypsy camp in the woods
We had among our ranks 3 youngsters, one recumbent, one trumpet, one banjo, and two bike trailers. We had experienced bike tourers riding along with some who had never ridden more than ten miles in a day. You can look forward to another QCB Member camping trip this spring, probably in either April or June. We had such a great time, we can’t wait to travel more miles together in the future!
A simple, practical city bike with carrying capacity and an upright riding postion
Want to bring a bike into your life?
I often get asked about where to get a good used bike for a good price by folks eager to get going on two wheels, and the answer, unfortunately, is not that simple these days. The first bike I owned as an adult was an old raleigh road bike bought from the thrift store for $15. You’d be lucky to find that deal now. Even thrift stores are discovering the value of a good bicycle and raising their prices. This article is my hope to help you find the best bike for your money in Greater Cincinnati.
So let’s start with the basics. What is a good bike worth?
Queen City Bike was honored to attend a special awards ceremony at Ethel Taylor Academy in Millvale yesterday. Students grades 3-5 who passed their Ohio Achievement Assessment were awarded with a new bike. Seventy three excited students were recipients. They also got a helmet thanks to Childrens Hospital, and fruit provided by Groundwork Cincinnati/Mill Creek. The bikes were made available through the Soaring Hawks Foundation and a matching grant from Union Savings Bank.