We have a weekly meeting in the Short North where managers and owners of our neighborhoods stores get together to plan events, coordinate sales and discuss ways to make our neighborhood better. For the last 6 months I have been annoying my fellow shop owners with one plan, a bike share. At first I wanted to make it really hippie; pick a color, publicize the color, and encourage people to donate their old bikes to the program by spraying them that color. I got convinced that we would never overcome the theft that would plague us with that model and, if we could, the maintenance on all those old bikes would be crippling.
Two weeks ago Dave (Sandbox) rode into the shop on one of the few bikes he had purchased for people working at Sandbox to run errands on throughout the day. We realized the easiest path to a working bikeshare in Columbus would be a loosely organized version of that model, across the city. So two weeks later, here we are with Everyonebikes.org. It's essentially a network of one and two bike bikeshares under the same name. You check out and return the bike to each participating store. The best part is, we've made it free! All you do is leave a credit card deposit and your drivers license number and you have a bike for 2 hours. As long as it comes back (in tact) you leave and pay nothing and are in good graces with us to take a bike again in the future.
If you are a store in another city reading this and thinking, "man I wish I would have thought of that," we are happy you like the idea and would like you to have it. We would be even happier to welcome you into the Everyonebikes.org network as we build a national database of neighborhoods utilizing this method. And if you live somewhere we want to visit, we'll even come (on your dime naturally) to help you implement it. For the time being of course, what we have 10 bikes and a hell of a lot of enthusiasm for whats to come.
Here are some pictures of our bikes followed by our official press release:
July 31, 2009
COLUMBUS, OH - July 31, 2009 A loosely tied group of Short North businesses created EveryoneBikes.org and today announces the launch of Central Ohio's first community Bikeshare Program. Using an innovative advertiser/retailer approach and beginning with the Short North, riders can pick up a bike from participating businesses to run errands, tour the neighborhood, or just get a little excercise.
Ten brand new Africa Bikes designed and built by Kona will be immediately available with the goal to have fifty available for Downtown, Arena District and Short North residents.
The Africa Bike by Kona was selected by EveryoneBikes because it is an outstanding single-speed with a step-through design (for easy on and off) along with puncture resistant tires, a comfort seat and basket. “The selection of the Africa Bike was more than just its features. For every two bikes sold, one bike is provided to an aide worker in Africa which allows to make a difference not only here Central Ohio, but around the world.” says David Hunegnaw of Sandbox.
The Bikeshare program presented by EveryoneBikes “further supports city efforts to spread ecologically sound practices throughout the City. This innovative approach to Bikeshare will give residents and visitors an option to use a carbon-neutral mode of transportation to navigate our city” says Josh Quinn, owner of Tigertree.
EveryoneBikes will launch on August 1, 2009 at 5:00p.m. at 771 North High Street in the Short North.
The EveryoneBikes cooperative is an experiment designed to help communities create bike shares through retailer and advertiser partnerships. Our retailers provide the bikes through a simple transaction. Riders can take a bike, run errands, visit the various neighborhoods and retailers, or for exercise.