Fort Collins Bike Share has gone through a lot of changes since launching in April 2016. As a successor to the beloved Fort Collins Bike Library, we’ve seen similar ridership numbers to that of our old business model – about 25% of our riders live within Larimer County, the rest have zipcodes which originate outside the county.
While we love receiving all of the love from our out-of-town visitors, the question we must continue to ask ourselves, and push for, is how do we get more Fort Collins residents out on the city’s streets and out on the trails? We are still working to find the best solutions for increasing local ridership. Bike Share is just one piece of the pie. We also realize that Fort Collins is lucky to already have a thriving bike community, where many locals already own a bike.
Even still, there are many who do not, and let us not forget that while we pride ourselves on being a platinum bike-friendly community, there are still neighborhoods on the outskirts of town with little to no bike infrastructure and limited access to Transfort bus service. With that in mind, we stepped into this new spring season with some big changes.
Price Adjustments, New Locks, and New Stations
First, we changed the pricing structure to incorporate an hourly rate, thereby eliminating the 24 hour pass. Now you can start riding the bike for as little as $2 an hour, up to $18 per 24 hour period. What we found was that paying $7 a day was a barrier to our riders who only needed a bike for a single trip; simply put, $7 was too expensive for a short trip.
We kept our membership pricing the same – $15 for a week-long pass; $60 (billed annually) for a year-long pass; and $30 for a year-long pass offered to students. What changed within this structure is the amount of free ride time offered to members. Before, weekly and annual members got 30 minutes of free ride time built-in (once they bought a pass, of course) – now members get one free hour on weekdays, and two free hours on weekends. Pretty sweet, huh?
The second major change in May was our locking technology on the bikes themselves. Zagster is in the process of upgrading all of their bike shares across the country, and Fort Collins Bike Share was amongst the first recipients to be ushered into a new era of bike share technology.
Specifically, we now have a Bluetooth-enabled ring lock which replaced the old U-lock. Better yet, the ring lock is keyless – if you’re using a smartphone, you have the option to automatically unlock the bikes using Bluetooth connection, otherwise the option always remains to enter in a code via the keypad on top of your bike’s rear rack.
When you’re locking up at the end of your ride, make sure there isn’t a spoke in front of the lock otherwise it won’t close. And with the new ring lock came an updated app and a new docking cable for all of our stations.
Just like before, you can still lock the bike to anywhere outside of a station for quick stops – you’ll note that there’s a funny looking orange tube on one side of the bike, right above the hub and just below the keypad. That’s not just there for decoration, folks!
If you press the unlock button on the keypad, then slide the orange tab down on the ring lock, you’ll then have access to a second cable hidden inside the orange tube.
Spring brought us three new stations as well: 1) West Park Station and 2) City Park & W. Elizabeth Station (both sponsored by Elevations Credit Union); and 3) Village on Redwood Station (sponsored by Housing Catalyst). We now have 20 stations operating in Fort Collins! Ride on!
And while we continue to bring in more stations, thereby expanding our transit network, we’re confident that the usability of our bike share will continue to improve for all users across the city. Stay tuned for more new stations coming your way in 2017.
So the jury is in – we’ve heard positive feedback from folks out riding in the community regarding these changes to the bike fleet! It’s now quicker and easier than ever to hop on a Bike Share bike and RIDE to your heart’s content!
Out and About Roaming the Community
Along with these three major system updates, we’ve been forging some awesome new connections within our community.
If you haven’t seen already, our station signage has been updated to include Visit Fort Collins as our helmet sponsors! We are so excited for this partnership, particularly because, to the best of our knowledge, no other local tourism office in the country is selling helmets meant for bike share riders.
If you want to protect that precious noggin of yours, ‘head’ over to Old Town Square and purchase a $5 helmet while supplies last! For Visit Fort Collins’ part, they’ve welcomed us with open arms, and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for both organizations as we pursue more creative, unique, and meaningful outreach opportunities together.
We’ve also had a blast at several events happening around Fort Collins. Some of these, like Alternative Transportation Day with the Student Life office at Front Range Community College, were new outreach opportunities and allowed us to make new friends.
Other events, like the Earth Day Festival at Civic Center Park, and Open Streets presented by FC Bikes, are tried-and-true, but nevertheless successful, and we get to work alongside our Bike Fort Collins colleagues in a more intimate setting (aka sharing booth space and exchanging information).
In these instances, we are reminded of the values we share with the Bike Fort Collins organization, and how lucky we are to work amongst such outstanding individuals committed to a safe and more equitable transportation vision within Fort Collins.
Summer Fun: What’s Next on the Horizon
Technically, it’s not summer yet, but it sure feels like it with everything we’ve accomplished thus far in the season! We’ll continue this trend through the month of June, so let me fill you in on not one, but TWO, exciting summer giveaway programs and contests you can start participating in TODAY:
1) Odell Bike From Work Bash Scavenger Hunt
In anticipation of Odell Brewing’s annual Bike From Work Bash, we’re presenting a photo scavenger hunt, open to participation now through June 28th! Visit all 12 locations, snap a picture of the location with your bike, your pet, a thumbs up, etc., and post to Facebook or Instagram using #bikefromworkbash and be entered to win some amazing prizes handed out at Odell during the Bash!
We’ll also be present in-person around town at surprise ‘pop-up’ locations – we’ll post a pic of where we’ll be and when the day before, then all you have to do is find us in order to receive something a little extra – everybody wins! This past Saturday was our first ‘pop-up’, and we handed out free drink coupons to Odell!
2) Ride All Summer Giveaway Program, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente
This summer, there are two ways to win awesome prizes simply by riding one of the Bike Share bikes: The top 3 riders of each month June through July will be awarded a prize giveaway, based on the total number of hours ridden. (Remember – members get free ride time built into the pricing structure!) Winners will be announced within two weeks following the previous month’s end on Facebook and Instagram.
ALL riders who rent a Fort Collins Bike Share bike between Memorial Day and Labor Day are entered to win a grand prize! One grand prize winner and five runner-ups will be announced via Facebook and Instagram on Friday, September 29th.
Wrappin’ It Up: Thanks for your support, and drop us a line!
So if you can’t tell already, we’re stoked about all of these new opportunities for community engagement! And with all of those above mentioned changes (for the better, I might add), there’s plenty to be excited about! But as I said earlier, we’re not done with our work as part of a larger transportation network.
We look forward to improving, as well as working with the numerous folks in our community who are just as enthusiastic as we are to have a bike share in the choice city of Fort Collins. Let us not forget that we envision a Bike Share that helps bridge existing transportation gaps, is fair and equitable, and embodies the values set forth in Bike Fort Collins’ mission of safe streets, more bikes, and one voice.
Have suggestions for us? Know where you want to see the next bike share station? Want to bring a Bike Share event or cool idea to your business or neighborhood? Don’t be a stranger – reach out to us! You can drop us a line at anytime by emailing the Director of Fort Collins Bike Share, Stacy Sebeczek, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last but not least, let me take this opportunity to thank YOU, dear reader, for your enthusiastic support of our bike share. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you cheering us along the entire time!
Stay tuned until next month!
Angela and the rest of the Fort Collins Bike Share staff