B-Cycles: A Solution in Search of a Problem?

May 21, 2011

Not long ago, the Boulder Convention and Visitors’ Bureau determined that there are about as many bicycles in Boulder as residents. 7 of 10 residents own a bike, but enough have more than one to reach parity. However, 50-60,000 employees commute into Boulder every work day. Many of them leave their bicycles behind. Therefore, a demand for “rentable” bikes would seem to exist. Creating a critical mass of bike stations and bikes where they are desired – to transport customers where and when they wish to go – is B-cycle’s nonprofit challenge. Will 12 stations and 100 bikes suffice?

Bike renting seems to be working well enough in Denver (and Paris), but it remains to be seen whether Boulder has sufficient demand for point-to-point bicycling in our charming, but not very large or dense downtown. The cost of parking and length of commute cause many downtown Denver employees to leave their cars behind. 400 bicycles and 55 stations increase the likelihood that one-way bike trips between popular destinations in Denver will occur with sufficient frequency to have enough bikes where and when they are needed for round trips.

I want B-cycle to succeed. Many civic-minded supporters have pooled their resources to give it a chance. Will the numbers ever pencil? Time will tell. We buy EcoPasses every year and rarely ride buses. I wonder, though, why some in Boulder want urban amenities and services while opposing changes that might allow Boulder to have enough people living here to sustain them?

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