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Bike & Roll bicycle rental in New York City's central park
Bike & Roll bicycle rental in New York City's central park

Hoboken to Join Growing List of Cities Offering Bike-Share

Quick... name the fastest growing mode of personal transportation on the planet, at least according to the Earth Policy Institute.

I'll give you a hint. It has two wheels and runs on carbohydrates instead of hydrocarbons.

Yep... bicycles, but more specifically, bicycle share systems. So reports the Earth Policy Institute's Janet Larsen. She reports that there are now 500 bike share program in 49 countries with a combined fleet of half a million bicycles. She cites urban transport consultant Peter Midgley as stating, "bike sharing has experienced the fastest growth of any mode of transport in the history of the planet.”

It's easy to see why. They are about basic as form of technology as you imagine; simplicity personified, at least compared to other modes like motorcycles, cars, or planes. In fact, the real cost in bike share systems, Tom Glendening told me today, is in the stations themselves where you pick up and park the bikes. He explained that you need three stations per bike, which increases system cost to between $4,000 and $8,000 per bike.

That's why when he rolls out Hoboken, New Jersey's first bike-share program in a couple weeks, in partnership with Bike & Roll in New York City, he won't be following the multi-bike station model. Instead, he'll be using a variation of the rental bike system pioneered by Bike & Roll, at a fraction of the cost of the much delayed and costly Citibike bike-share system now set to become operational in the next month or so.

The key - or maybe more accurately, combination - to the Hoboken system will be its on-bike lock system, which will allow users to park the bikes at any conventional bike stand, lock it and walk away; at least, that's my understanding of it.

The idea is to link a Bike & Roll rental location on the West Side of Manhattan near 42nd Street, not far from the U.S.S. Intrepid aircraft carrier with ferries that regularly ply the Hudson with the Hoboken bike-share system, giving some of the 52 million tourists who visit New York a chance to explore both banks of the famous River.

Tom thinks his is the first system in the world to offer this bike-to-boat system, created, in large part in response Tom, a father of three and self-professed non-cyclist, thinks the biggest asset of his system is that it has the one thing you can't buy in Manhattan for any price: an unobstructed view of Manhattan's skyline. Having stood on the pier on the Jersey side of the Hudson, I can see his point.

Posted By: Bill Moore [25-Apr-2013]