MEMPHIS BUSINESS JOURNAL | MEAGAN NICHOLS
As Explore Bike Share continues to peddle towards its $4 million funding goal, Memphians can get a preview of the future bikes this evening.
May means bike month, and to help mark the occasion, Bike Walk Memphis and Explore Bike Share will host an event Thursday at Loflin Yard to encourage people to bike to work Friday, May 20.
Also on hand at the mixer will be B-cycle’s 2.0 bike share bicycle. This 2.0 model bike will be used in Memphis for the city’s bike share program once funding is fully secured, and the vendor contract is signed. Currently, Explore Bike Share has raised a little more than $1.5 million in funding primarily from private organizations.
“We have a little bit of Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) federal funding and we are applying for more, which would basically be for the expansion of the system once it's launched,” said Doug Carpenter of DCA who spearheaded the bike share initiative. “Everything else is from private sponsorship or contributions to the programming elements or contributions to the capital expense.”
A committee was launched in June 2015 to explore the feasibility and sustainability of a bike share program in Memphis, and in September, a Request For Proposals was released. Now, nearly one year later, Explore Bike Share is closing in on the midway point of its total funding goal.
Once implemented, bike share stations will stretch from Downtown to the University District. Carpenter said it is hard to predict when funding will be finalized, but he hopes to have that wrapped up in the next three months.
“We believe six to seven months from the time that we sign the contract with our vendor, bikes would actually be on the streets,” Carpenter said.
Representatives from Explore Bike Share will be in attendance at tonight’s event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to showcase the 2.0 bike and highlight how it differs from the older, 1.0 bike share model.
“From a consumer perspective, the bike is 10 pounds lighter,” Carpenter said. “It also has an upgraded front basket, which is much more functional than the first version was. … From an operational perspective, the number of pieces and parts has been reduced dramatically and it’s basically been fully enclosed … so that makes maintenance a much more efficient and less frequent task.”
People who bike, walk or bus to Loflin Yard or sign up for Friday’s bike to work day get $1 off a drink.
Explore Bike Share board of directors:
Roshun Austin, The Works CDC and St. Andrews A.M.E. Church
Suzanne Carlson, Innovate Memphis (Vice-chair)
Larry Fogarty, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare
Justin Jamerson, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (Treasurer)
Dwayne Jones, City of Memphis and Orange Mound Advocate
Doug McGowen, City of Memphis (Chair)
Todd Richardson, Crosstown Concourse
John Paul Shaffer, Livable Memphis and Bike Walk TN (Secretary)