Tracker Pixel for Entry

Bikes for everyone: Great Rides Bike Share is here

by Taylor Blumer | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Wellness | March 11th, 2015

Tom Smith and Sara Watson Curry / Photo by Abigail Maki

Fargo is set to gain its first-ever bike share program this spring, providing a healthy new way to get around the city.

Great Rides Bike Share allows members and guests to check out bicycles. Managed by Great Rides Fargo, it will officially launch Sunday, March 15. Great Northern Bicycle Co., which will maintain the bicycles, also won the bid to build the stations around town.

Bike share programs are pretty simple.

Photo by Abigail Maki

Members will have a card that they can swipe at stations to check out available bicycles. Then they are able to ride the bike for half an hour before needing to check back in at any station. When rides exceed the 30-minute limit, users will incur a $1 fee for their next half hour and an additional $2 charge for each half hour thereafter.

Photo by Raul Gomez

The short time segments are meant to ensure bikes get returned and enough are available for all members to use – in other words, to encourage bike sharing. However, once members check their bike back in, they can then immediately check out a different bike at the same station. To facilitate the ease of finding available bikes, kiosks at each station will have maps to help riders plan their trip.

When the program launches, there will be 101 bicycles that can be docked at any of the 11 stations placed around downtown Fargo and the NDSU campus. The southernmost is located at the YMCA next to Island Park, while University Village across from the Fargodome is the northernmost. To account for the possible overflow of bikes at any single station, there will be more available docks than total number of bikes. Also, Great Rides will send out a mobile rack (bike-propelled, of course) to evenly distribute the bikes twice each day.

Photo by Abigail Maki

Year long memberships will cost $75. But for those who get on board and sign up before the official launch on March 15, the cost for a first-year membership will be reduced to $65. In addition, a pre-launch membership comes with a special edition member card, which is good for the purpose of bragging rights. (The people at Great Rides believe the bike share champions of the F-M community deserve a little something extra for their support.)

Even before its launch, Great Rides Bike Share is set to become the second largest bike share in the U.S. based on prospective memberships. One major reason for the program’s auspicious start, in terms of the membership numbers, is due to the program’s close partnership with NDSU and the support of City Commissioner Mike Williams, said Sara Watson Curry, Great Rides’ director of operations.

“NDSU student involvement is really a hallmark of the program,” Curry said. “The NDSU student government helped bring the program here; they initially proposed the program and worked to find partners and supporters of the project.Two student government members are on the board, and we were able to arrange it so that NDSU students - all 14,700 of them - have automatic enrollment. They will be able to use their Bison Cards at the stations and no extra funds will be charged to students. Their membership fees are funded through the student fees.”

The road to the launch has been a long one, however.

Cam Knutson, who has been involved since his time as NDSU student body president, has followed through with the planning process for the last three and a half years, and he knows how much time and energy went into bringing a high-quality bike share program to Fargo.

Photo by Abigail Maki

“I think the reason all of us continued to work on this project after that first year is that we all believed in the project 100 percent,” Knutson said. “Our team [the self-coined Bike Share Steering Committee] went through a lot … literally thousands of hours were put into research, fundraising, implementation strategy, meetings, etc. The team rode on a lot of roller-coasters to get where we are now. I give major kudos to every single person who has been involved in making Great Rides Bike Share a reality.”

B-cycle is the company providing the actual software and the station pieces that make the program possible. This will lead to another great feature for members, Curry noted.

Great Rides members will have access to B-cycle programs all over the U.S. This includes such cities as Austin and Houston, Texas; Denver and Boulder, Colo.; and Madison and Milwaukee, Wis., among others.

“My hope is that the community embraces the program like we have seen so many other communities do,” Knutson said. “I hope the program serves as a catalyst to further enhance the bicycle culture of Fargo … and that we are able to build upon the successes of this first launch by adding stations and bicycles in the future.”

So how do they ride? – HPR takes the bikes for a spin

Photo by Abigail Maki

With the stations and bicycles now ready to go, Great Rides was nice enough to allow HPR to take these bikes for a road test.

One of the first things we noticed was that the ride was smooth. Surely enough, the ride glides. The seats are amply cushioned and they have a height adjustment range of over a foot to accommodate riders of all sizes (everyone’s got their own magic setting).

The frame is sturdy, but the bike isn’t too heavy, weighing in at about 50 pounds with all the attachments included. There are three adjustable gear settings, allowing riders to easily maneuver through the flat streets of Fargo as well as the hilly trails along the Red River. A nice feature with the gears is that you don’t have to be peddling when you switch: you can just as easily change gears sitting at a stoplight as you could while cruising along.

The lights in front and back are powered by a dynamo hub, which converts your pedaling energy into a power source for the lights. After about a minute of pedaling, the lights will continue blinking, even when riders come to a stop.

Photo by Abigail Maki

The bikes have a lock and chain connected to them, allowing riders to make pit stops without having to worry about a stolen bike.

To lock up, all one needs to do is loop the chain through whatever they are locking the bike to and insert into the lock, which is located underneath the bike’s basket. Just remove the key from the lock and that bike is going nowhere. To unlock, just insert the key back in and the chain will practically pop out. It turned out to be pretty simple. Another important note – while riding around, the key will remain stuck in the lock – this prevents keys from getting scattered around the Fargo area.

To check bikes out of a station, we swiped a membership card over the silver button located right beside the bike in each docking bay. Then the bike unlocked, and it was now ours for a solid half hour. To return the bike, we just pushed it back into an open docking bay. Again, it was as simple as that.

Each bike comes equipped with its own bell – good for warding off collisions, or for saying hi to other cyclists and pedestrians.

Photo by Raul Gomez

Other features include splatter-blocking fenders over both wheels and a very sizable basket (large enough to hold E.T.). B-Cycle also has a downloadable phone app available that allows Great Rides members to locate stations by proximity and keep track of bike availability. A GPS system will also allow members to track their usage online, as well as get an estimation of calories burned and their CO2 offset.

The official Great Rides Bike Share launch party is from 2 to 4 p.m. Sundayat Great Northern Bicycle Co. It will be open to the entire community and will offer a chance to learn more about the program and see the bikes. Included will be light refreshments, door prizes and station demos, and (weather permitting) the event will end with a bike ride to populate the 101 bikes throughout the city. The pre-launch discount memberships will be available until midnight Sunday.

IF YOU GO:

Great Rides Bike Share launch Party
Sun, March 15, 2 to 4 p.m.
Great Northern Bicycle Co., 425 Broadway N, Fargo
greatridesbikeshare.com
facebook.com/GreatRidesBikeshare

Recently in:

AMHERST, SOUTH DAKOTA – Four days before TransCanada anticipated obtaining permits for the Keystone XL project, the company’s older pipeline leaked, spilling more than 210,000 gallons of Canadian crude oil into the South Dakota…

The Transgender Day of Remembrance memorializes the trans individuals who have lost their lives due to violence this year. It is a day where we read their names and remember them—not how they died, but how they lived. This is also…

Thursday, November 16, 7-9pmUnglued, 408 Broadway N, FargoProof Artisan Distillers and Unglued present a craft party with four distinct projects and help from artists Ashley from AENDEE and Nicole Rae, not to mention a special…

“The experience of all ages has proved that the people constantly give away their liberties.” - John Adams“Man’s dishonesty with himself is his greatest enemy. When he makes a mistake, his memory admits, ‘I have done…

The thoughts and prayers of politicians will finally be answeredWe have had 307 mass shootings (four kills or more) so far in 2017, including the last one in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 26 mortals attending church, aged 18…

For the third week in a row, our panel of judges were out on the town with a thirst for cocktails and a focus on presentation, flavor, and creativity. This week’s adventures took us to a couple of hotspots in south Fargo, as the…

Colder weather, changing leaves, pumpkin spice and more are some of the few things that come to mind when many think of fall. But fall is about much more than sugary lattes and scarves, and you can fully indulge in fall flavors at…

I’m told that there is nothing quite like a live Green Jelly show, where anarchy and foam puppets reign. So perhaps it’s in the spirit of the upcoming show that my intended interview with the mastermind and vocalist behind the…

On Tuesday, November 14 at 7pm, the Fargo Theatre hosted a screening of “The Mission of Herman Stern,” a feature-length documentary chronicling the remarkable humanitarian efforts of the North Dakota businessman and founder, in…

Would you like to escape your stressful daily life with a relaxing arts event? Do you like to meet with old friends and make new ones? Or maybe you would like to start your Christmas and Holiday shopping early. FMVA has the event…

Ted Larson introduced me to Chris Jacobs one evening at Weld Hall in the late 1980s. I was in high school then, but Chris recognized fellow film fanatics, and we would chat a little bit each week. I learned quickly that he loved…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Believe it or not, “The Holidays” are upon us. If you’ve been to Target lately, and I know you have, you may have noticed that the Christmahanakwanzika stuff is already up (if you’re unsure of that term, Google it).In fact,…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Anthony Paul [Editor’s note: This piece contains language that some readers may find offensive]It has been all over social media and the news lately, how our president and commander-in-chief called and spoke with one of these…