Hug a Tree, Help Your Heart, Ride a Bike

Roanoke has launched a bicycle sharing program. It’s not quite the scale of the initiative in Paris, France, with its 10,000 bicycles, but the ShareBike initiative does let people sign out two-wheelers at “between five and 10 area businesses and organizations” to ride wherever pleasure or work takes them, reports the Roanoke Times.

The rules are simple: Borrow a bike at one location, turn it in at another. One virtue of the program is its low overhead: There are no full-time employees. Organizers hope ShareBike can pay for a planned downtown office by charging $3 to check out a bike for a half-day’s usage and $6 for a day.

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7 responses to “Hug a Tree, Help Your Heart, Ride a Bike”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    I hope they put RFID’s on those bikes so they can find them. Otherwise, a great idea. Hope it catches on.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    The Dave Matthews Band put up thousands of dollars to do this in C’ville. The bikes were all gone in a matter of weeks if not days. Lots of luck…

  3. We tried this idea once in Portland and it failed miserably with all the bikes disappearing (some showing up in the river months later). We are getting ready to try this failure again. However, think a moment, who will use these? The business man or woman in a suit? Not too likely. A trades person who has a ton of tools that they need to take with them from job to job? Not likely. So you are left with some tourists, a few folks who call ‘downtown’ their home and …

    Typically not a well thought idea and typically one that fails. Good luck to y’all.

  4. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    You can buy a coke with a cell phone if Europe and Japan.

    Just reading about zip cars merging with flex cars this morning.

    and thinking about EZPass ..

    POS credit card terminals in taxi cabs..

    and old tech bottle deposits

    and wondering why such bike programs can’t incorporate/utilize old/new technologies to assure that bikes that “disappear” are, in fact, “pre-paid” and the forefited deposits go to replace the missing bike.

    One of the comments about Loundons Cordon Tolls has been.. from pedestrians and bikers that for the first time – they city is “friendly” towards that mode of transportation and that now the onus is on motorized vehicles…

    and the opposite point of view is that the tolls and other changes have made automobility… get this… “intolerable”.

    I find this an interesting concept in that .. as far as I can recall.. I’ve never heard that term used with regard to foot and bike travel..

    So.. here we have a 300lb driving pushing 3000lbs through pedestrians and bikers… and leaving behind an additional add-on of health-threatening pollution.. and the view is that his mobility experience is….intolerable.


  5. E M Risse Avatar

    Larry mentioned Zip and Flex merging.

    Since they will have a monopoly why not require them to offer bikes too? At least until they have competition.


  6. Anonymous Avatar


    Larry suggests that we solve a social problem with strong property rights.

    You want a bike, buy it. When you are done, you are guaranteed to be able to sell it back for what you bought it for.

    Unless the government changes your “bike zoning” while you have it.


  7. Anonymous Avatar

    It’s a good idea, Ed. I think Zip and Flex get some government assistance anyway, and this might be a way to get something more added to their existing contract/agreement (With additional compensation of course, unless / until the bike racks prove to be profitable.)

    And it introduces private property into the loss equation.

    I don’t think it is a real monopoly, yet. Monopoly implies a persistent condition and a lack of economic competition. We might argue that a merger shows a lack of economic competition, but it might also be a lack of sufficient market, or that the market still needs to be grown.

    In any case,the barrier to entry isn’t all that high, any rental car company could expand into the space, unless the government has already granted all the good parking spaces to zip/flex.

    If they go broke, it will bring a new meaning to zip car.


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