Every day it seems I see more and more bicycles on the road, especially on the weekends. The cooler fall weather may have something to do with more riders coming out. Travelling in the downtown area, though, I think Kansas City BCycle has something to do with increasing riders on the streets.
Introduced earlier this year, Kansas City BCycle is a non-profit organization (locations in other cities as well) that promotes bike riding by offering bikes for anyone to ride at various locations in the city. Currently there are twelve stations in KC, located in the River Market going south to Crown Center (nothing in Brookside or Waldo yet). You do have to be a member to use a bike, and it’s easy to sign up for one of the four types of membership on the website. Memberships range from 24 hours ($7) to an annual pass ($65). Corporate memberships are available too.
It’s very easy to take a bike from one of the stations–once you have registered, you swipe, grab the bike and go. The first 30 minutes of usage is free–after that, a $2 per half hour fee applies. I think it would be more convenient if the first 60 minutes were free as 30 minutes just seems too short to get anything done–and what if you want to stop, chat, grab a beverage, do some shopping (each bike has a basket)? Still, this is a great service for downtown workers and tourists as well. There is a special discount card for members, redeemable at various downtown businesses. And special thanks to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City for partnering with Bcycle to bring the service to Kansas City.
Hopefully Kansas City Bcycle will be so successful that more stations will be added. Until then, it’s a pleasant, eco-friendly way to explore downtown, RIver Market and the Crown Center area. Remember to bring a bike lock!