At first blush, the city of Eugene’s decision to launch a self-service bike rental program strikes you as a plan you want to believe in — it’s just so Eugene — but might wind up in the seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time category.

First, there’s the fact that Eugene is a far smaller community than most of the places Social Bicycles — the New York-based company that the city has contracted with to provide the bikes, stations and system — works with: for example, Long Beach, N.Y.; Tampa, Fla.; Atlanta; Beverly Hills; Portland; and Krakow, Poland. Eugene can’t muster enough customers to make a bus route to its airport work. What’s to suggest there are enough people willing to take short-term bike trips to sustain the effort?

Second, there’s the high rate of vandalism and theft reported for some similar setups, conjuring visions of spoked wheels protruding from the Mill Race. The initial 30 bikes of the University of Arizona’s Orange Bike Project were stolen and its project was terminated after five months.

And, finally, there’s the idea that bikes are so plentiful around here that few people would seem to have the need to pay money for the short-term use of someone else’s.

But enough “first blush” pessimism. What buoys the belief that Eugene can make this work is learning of the success of a similar program at a place smaller than Eugene: Auburn University, which has a student population slightly larger (27,000) than the University of Oregon (24,125) but whose surrounding-area (65,000) is far smaller than Eugene (159,000).

Since launching its program in March with the same company Eugene is using, Auburn bike renters are on pace to make 100,000 trips in the program’s first year. Starting with 75 bikes, Auburn now has 125.

“We’ve far exceeded my expectations,” says Don Andre, whose idea it was to establish War Eagle Bike Share. He expected perhaps 500 trips a week; Auburn is getting 1,500.

This in a place that, unlike Eugene, is decidedly not bike-friendly. “This is the South, not the Far West,” says Andre. “Our bike lanes aren’t good. The culture for bikes is not strong.”

The self-serve rental system is simple: People reserve a bike on their smart phone, enter a four-digit number on the bike lock to release it and cycle to a hub nearest their destination, where they leave the bike.

Andre attributes Auburn’s success to three things: The bikes themselves — bright orange, school colors (Eugene’s will likely be green or yellow); the simplicity of meeting people’s need to get somewhere in a hurry, usually a one-way trip to class; and the high-tech nature of the operation — trips triggered by smart phones, payment made online, bikes unlocked by pass codes.

At Auburn, not a single bike has been stolen; only two are out of commission, neither because of vandalism. Andre credits the lack of thefts to bikes fitted with GPS chips — “it’s like a video game, I can see where they are at all times” — and to bikes built specifically without the types of parts that thieves like to steal and sell.

Eugene’s system — set to begin in October 2017 — is expected to be larger than Auburn’s: 300 bikes to Auburn’s 125; 35 stations to Auburn’s 14. Not that it would be appropriate to start bragging. Auburn’s success has already been proven, Eugene’s has not. But if self-serve bike rentals can work at a not-so-bike-friendly place such as Auburn, you’d think — and hope — they could work in a place where that form of transportation is much more a way of life.

http://registerguard.com/rg/opinion/34923800-78/if-it-can-work-there-….csp

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“We’ve far exceeded my expectations,” says Don Andre, whose idea it was to establish War Eagle Bike Share. He expected perhaps 500 trips a week; Auburn is getting 1,500.”

The Register Guard, October, 26, 2016

 

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SCAD gets bike sharing program for staff, students

Gotcha Bike brings a bike share program to Savannah for SCAD staff and students. One hundred bikes will be available at seven SCAD Bike Share hubs.

“We believe in providing Savannah with a safe, healthy and sustainable mode of transportation,” said Sean Flood, CEO of parent company The Gotcha Group. “Gotcha Bike is designed to be durable and maintenance-free providing communities clean, reliable and affordable transportation.”

GPS technology will allows users to locate and access the bikes through a smartphone or computer with a SCAD ID card.

The integrated technology and flashing safety lights are powered through a built-in solar panel and dynamo hub, giving riders real-time data from each bike ride, such as carbon dioxide emissions reduced, calories burned and money saved versus driving.

SCAD Bike Share members receive four hours of free riding time daily; the fee after the initial four hours is $4 per hour. Participants can ride a bike anywhere, and even put the bike “on hold” if they would like to make a stop before ending their ride at a designated station. For an additional fee, users may end their ride outside of a dedicated station.

Currently, Gotcha Bike provides bike share programs at 12 college, residential and corporate campuses in the United States. 

http://businessinsavannah.com/bis/2016-09-18/bis-brief-savannah-state-seeks-awards-nominations#

Smart bike helps reduce carbon footprint while tracking calories burned

CHARLESTON, S.C. (PRWEB) SEPTEMBER 15, 2016

Gotcha Bike is set to launch its eco-friendly bike share program across the country to provide a sustainable alternative for transportation. The bike share program has already reduced user’s carbon footprint by 33,000 pounds in just one year, which is the equivalent to saving 1,320 gallons of gas.

“We believe in providing everyone with a safe, healthy and sustainable mode of transportation,” said Sean Flood, CEO of parent company The Gotcha Group. “Gotcha Bike is designed to be durable and maintenance-free providing communities clean, reliable and affordable transportation.”

The Gotcha Bikes dispatched in each city will be the nation’s smartest, thanks to Gotcha Bike partner, Social Bicycles, and its proprietary GPS technology that allows users to locate and access the bikes through a smartphone or computer.

The integrated technology and flashing safety lights are powered through a built-in solar panel and dynamo hub, giving riders real-time data from each bike ride, such as carbon dioxide emissions reduced, calories burned and money saved versus driving. For example, Gotcha Bike has saved its users across 12 markets over $30,000 since launch.

Users will be charged a pro-rated fee based on their ride time. Participants can ride a bike anywhere, and even put the bike “on hold” if they would like to make a stop before ending their ride at a designated station. For an additional fee, users may end their ride outside of a dedicated station.

Currently, Gotcha Bike provides bike share programs at 12 college, residential and corporate campuses across the U.S. In many markets, the bike share unites riders with national brands that underwrite the service. Durability features of the specially made bikes include a lightweight and rustproof aluminum frame, waterproof Kevlar seats and puncture-resistant tires, which offer a maintenance-free smart bike.

For more information on the Gotcha Bike program, please visit the Gotcha Bike website at http://gotchabike.com.

“We believe in providing everyone with a safe, healthy and sustainable mode of transportation . . .”

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/09/prweb13682132.htm

  • One reason opponents have been dismissive of efforts to accommodate bicycles in Charleston is that they don’t see enough demand to justify them.

    They can put their minds at ease. Seasoned businesses on the peninsula are confident enough in the future of biking that they are putting money into it.

    Bike rentals have done well for some time. And hotels have added bikes to the list of amenities for their guests.

    Now the city of Charleston is on the verge of launching its peninsula-wide bike-share program — something that has been years in the planning.

    Charleston City Council will soon — as early as October — be asked for approval.

    And why wouldn’t members sign off on the plan? It would decrease the automobile traffic on city streets, ease parking demands, decrease emissions and provide residents and visitors a healthy alternative to driving.

    Charleston County Council members should also take note.

    Some are talking about abandoning the county’s promised role in the bike lane planned to span the Ashley River on the Legare bridge.

    Not only would that be an injustice to the city, it would be a blow to the community that stands to benefit from becoming more bike friendly.

    While the city’s bike-share program, with 200 bicycles, should accommodate demand on the peninsula, West Ashley and James Island residents still need a way to get onto the peninsula by bike.

    The bike lane is important for commuters who work at the Medical University of South Carolina, the College of Charleston or anywhere else on the peninsula. For some bicycling is a choice, but for others, it is the only affordable way to commute.

    Sean Flood, founder of The Gotcha Group, which is to contract with the city to provide the bike-shares, has seen it succeed. Gotcha has programs at Auburn University, North Kentucky University and the Savannah College of Art and Design.

    In Charleston, its first municipal operation, it would install about 15 corrals on public sidewalks and streets, as well as on MUSC and College of Charleston campuses. Bikes would be checked out with a smartphone app, online or on a keypad on the rear of the bike. A built-in lock can be released with a numeric code on the keypad, so users can lock it up at any destination. It must be returned to a Gotcha hub for the trip to end. Renters can pay by the hour or by the year. The rates are not yet established.

    The city is wise to recognize the benefits of bicycling and to support it with this bike share, the West Ashley Greenway and designated bike lanes like the one over the Ashley.

    Unfortunately, some City Council members who opposed the lane but were outvoted are working behind the scenes to persuade County Council to kill the lane.

    They had their chance and were defeated. Now they owe it to their constituents to get on board to make sure the bike lane is successful.

    And County Council members should follow through on their promise to build the lane.

    Tests have shown that drivers will not be delayed by more than a minute or two on their morning commutes — at peak traffic. Projects in other municipalities across the country have proven popular and helpful.

    And now local businesses have seen the potential and are on board — where it makes sense to be.

wcpo_nku_bike_share_1459955692613_35624486_ver1-0_640_480

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — High-tech bicycles featuring rust-proof aluminum frames, puncture-resistant tires and GPS tracking systems will soon be available to Northern Kentucky University students at the push of a button.

Gotcha Bike will be a campus transportation option with the launch of the university’s bike-share program April 22.

Built from the wheels up, the bikes are easy to ride, and even easier to reserve. Each bicycle can be checked out from the convenience of a smartphone.

Katie Sargeant, director of Gotcha Bike, said the program was developed after evaluating the current transportation issues of universities throughout the country.

RELATED: Top nine things people need to know about living car-free.

Sargeant said she hopes that bike travel will help reduce traffic and alleviate other methods of transportation on campus.

“We really hope to create new bicycle commuters by offering something that’s active and fun and convenient,” Sargeant said. “You don’t have to be an experienced rider to take advantage of this bike-share system. They’re really easy to ride. One of my favorites parts of my job is watching people who haven’t ridden a bicycle in a while go for a spin. You can just see their face light up.”

Andy Meeks, director of Business Operations and Auxiliary Services, said the program piqued his interest when he met the Gotcha Bike group at a professional conference.

“It’s got a ton of environmental implications,” Meeks said. “But mostly as the campus continues to expand, we just wanted to give the students on campus some opportunities to bike share around campus.”

Andy Meeks, director of business operations and auxiliary services at Northern Kentucky University, with one of the new bikes. Fabio Souza/The Northerner
Morgan Lyons, a senior environmental science major, has conducted research on the toxins that are released into the atmosphere as a result of frequent driving.

Lyons believes the alternative method of transportation provided by the bike share will prove beneficial for the university, as NKU has made a commitment to work toward having a carbon footprint of zero by 2050.

“It makes me really happy,” Lyons said. “I get very frustrated with the mindsets that some people have about sustainability. The future is going more sustainable, and if NKU can continue to do things like this bike share, they’re going to reach their goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.”

In addition to using the bike to traverse campus, Meeks said students will be able to bike to some areas off campus too.

A software package featuring GPS is located at the back of the bike, which enables Meeks to track the bikes at any given time.

Not only does the GPS system prevent theft, it also prevents students from taking the bikes too far off campus. A fee will be charged if the bikes are taken outside of the determined radius.

Students will also be charged a fee if they do not return the bikes to the designated hub.

The program will cost $60,000 a year. Meeks said costs for the first year will be covered through marketing, advertising and university funding.

Meeks plans to have the program fully funded through marketing by the second year of operation. He plans to utilize the actual bikes as well as the bike racks as advertising space.

The initial launch will feature 50 bikes and three sets of bike racks. One will be located at the Student Union, another at Norse Commons and one at the East Village near Callahan Hall and Northern Terrace.

Meeks said students can ride for free for up to four hours. After that, a fee will be charged.

Meeks said this system is in place to discourage someone from checking out a bike for the entire day. He wants the bicycles to be available to other students when not in use.

To reserve a bike, students must create an account through the Gotcha Bike app. Students will be given an account number and a PIN code. The PIN code will unlock the bike when it is entered on the GPS system.

After completing their ride, users can share details of their trip on social media. The bikes track statistics such as miles traveled, carbon dioxide emissions reduced, calories burned and money saved versus driving.

Gotcha Bike is operating at Auburn University in Alabama and six student housing apartments in Arizona, Oklahoma, Michigan, Missouri and Minnesota as well as one corporate campus in South Carolina.

They are also in the process of launching bike-share programs at Georgia Tech, Florida State and the University of Delaware.

Abby Anstead is a journalism student at Northern Kentucky University. This article was originally published in The Northerner, NKU’s student newspaper and website.

http://www.wcpo.com/news/local-news/colleges/nku-news/northern-kentucky-university-starting-bike-sharing-program-this-month

Introducing the War Eagle Bike Share

.article_excerpt

You may recognize me as the guy who went on a ride along with AU Parking Services. And now I’m back at it again – only this time on two wheels.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce the War Eagle Bike Share. With the issue of campus parking not being a viable option for many students, AU Parking Services has implemented a bicycle sharing program for our use. This will reduce the need for on campus parking because we can now ride bikes for free.

Thanks to the department and the Gotcha Group, along with local bicycle shops, Auburn now has 75 new Auburn themed bicycles. The bikes can be found in 10 different stations around campus, which means you can always ride to class in style.

The Tab Auburn spoke with everyone’s favorite Parking Services manager, Don Andrae, who orchestrated the bike sharing program. Fortunately, we were able to ride along with him – on a bike this time – and ask some questions about the program.

So, how can we sign up?

To be able to use the bicycles, you must visit au.gotchabike.com and register to make an account, or download the app called Social Bicycles

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How can I locate them?

By using the app or the website, there is a map where you can look at the bike locations directly. Also, if you are using the app, you can reserve a bike if it’s available by clicking on the bike you want on the map.18p36a31jrotppng

How are you able to track the availability of the bike?

These are no ordinary bicycles, you see. They are smart bikes. They have a GPS system embedded into them with the ability to track your name, and even what route you are riding on.copy-of-p1220524-mov-13_40_22_12-still002

Is there a fee for using the bicycles?

No. There is a fee of $5 an hour, but only after the first two hours of use.

Are the bicycles exclusively for Auburn students?

Yes. Visitors, faculty and even non-students can use the bikes.

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Who designed the bikes?

Well, I designed the bikes with the help of the Gotcha bike group.

569707232e503-image

Thanks to the new bicycles on campus, I can now ride a cool Auburn themed bike and hopefully make it to class on time.

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http://thetab.com/us/auburn/2016/04/07/you-can-rent-bikes-campus-free-484

Introducing the War Eagle Bike Share

.article_excerpt

You may recognize me as the guy who went on a ride along with AU Parking Services. And now I’m back at it again – only this time on two wheels.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce the War Eagle Bike Share. With the issue of campus parking not being a viable option for many students, AU Parking Services has implemented a bicycle sharing program for our use. This will reduce the need for on campus parking because we can now ride bikes for free.

Thanks to the department and the Gotcha Group, along with local bicycle shops, Auburn now has 75 new Auburn themed bicycles. The bikes can be found in 10 different stations around campus, which means you can always ride to class in style.

The Tab Auburn spoke with everyone’s favorite Parking Services manager, Don Andrae, who orchestrated the bike sharing program. Fortunately, we were able to ride along with him – on a bike this time – and ask some questions about the program.

So, how can we sign up?

To be able to use the bicycles, you must visit au.gotchabike.com and register to make an account, or download the app called Social Bicycles

.3b6767_526561df83e449c98a447fdcc42f93e4

How can I locate them?

By using the app or the website, there is a map where you can look at the bike locations directly. Also, if you are using the app, you can reserve a bike if it’s available by clicking on the bike you want on the map.18p36a31jrotppng

How are you able to track the availability of the bike?

These are no ordinary bicycles, you see. They are smart bikes. They have a GPS system embedded into them with the ability to track your name, and even what route you are riding on.copy-of-p1220524-mov-13_40_22_12-still002

Is there a fee for using the bicycles?

No. There is a fee of $5 an hour, but only after the first two hours of use.

Are the bicycles exclusively for Auburn students?

Yes. Visitors, faculty and even non-students can use the bikes.

12522912_1671987903077150_223394073196721656_n

Who designed the bikes?

Well, I designed the bikes with the help of the Gotcha bike group.

569707232e503-image

Thanks to the new bicycles on campus, I can now ride a cool Auburn themed bike and hopefully make it to class on time.

12744082_1685887941687146_3317680875971526543_n12718017_1708008302808443_7258554330485280533_n 12509894_1671987573077183_4808708456940833959_n d274ea_93f843754e0f4944aa02b55acd9f7f27mv2

http://thetab.com/us/auburn/2016/04/07/you-can-rent-bikes-campus-free-484

Gotcha Bike set to roll out on AU campus

569707232e503-image new_auburn_bike d274ea_a06bd91f59ae4186a8b31c84f55129bdmv2 d274ea_3f36835874d841d6820578847ae4af27mv2 Posted: Wednesday, January 13, 2016 8:24 pm

Sara Falligant | Opelika-Auburn News | Twitter

Auburn University is rolling out a brand-new bike share program, making it the first university to boast smart bikes from Charleston-based The Gotcha Group.

University officials lined up 10 of the 75 Gotcha Bike bikes on the Roosevelt Concourse Wednesday, and the orange and blue drew the attention of students traveling to and from their first classes of the semester.

“We’ve been developing the first true smart bike for bike share for about a year and a half, and Auburn is our first partner that we’re rolling out the program with,” explained Sean Flood, CEO of The Gotcha Group. “Fully-branded, custom bikes with all Auburn branding.”

Unlike traditional bike share programs that require users to swipe a card at a kiosk and return the bike to a docking station, Gotcha Bike operates primarily through a smartphone app or computer and uses bike racks already installed on campus.

“We’ve gotten rid of that model, and we’ve installed all the technology on the back of the bike. So a user – student, faculty member, visitor – can create an account through their smartphone, locate the bikes through GPS on their phone, walk up to the bike, unlock it and then run around and turn it in to a corral without using a docking station,” Flood said.

The bike locks attach securely to a magnetic strip on the side of each bike. The fleet boasts a handful of other technologies, like lights that turn on when the rider starts pedaling and stay on after the bike is stopped for nighttime safety. The bikes also self-charge as the riders pedal, along with capturing energy with a solar panel. A keypad and screen on the back of the bike allow riders to report maintenance requests and keep up with miles traveled, calories burned, CO2 emissions reduced and money saved biking versus driving a car.

“We designed the bike to be as bulletproof as possible and designed for college bike share,” Flood said. “We tried to do a few things that made it not only a unique bike, but fit a college bike share really well. We went with an aluminum frame, and there are a few reasons for that. One, it’s lightweight. It’s designed to be a co-ed bike, so it doesn’t matter if you’re tall or short, you can use a Gotcha bike.

“Aluminum is weatherproof,” he continued. “These are going to be outside year-round, so we wanted to make sure they won’t rust. They’ve got puncture-resistant tires, so the hassle of your tires running flat, you won’t have any issue of that. The seat is Kevlar, so you won’t have a soaking wet seat when you walk out. And what we think is really neat is, we’ve removed the chain, so this is a belt drive. There’s no metal chain; it’s just a rubber belt similar to a belt drive that operates in your car. No grease, nothing like that. And all of the lock technology is on the back.”

The company provides maintenance and has partnered with local bike shop Southern Trails for day-to-day upkeep.

Riders get two free hours each day, and each additional hour is $5 up to a total of $25. The idea is to keep time short to ensure riders are using the bike share correctly.

“We want to make sure it’s a bike share, not a bike mine,” AU Parking Services Manager Don Andre said, adding riders can rent the bikes for a full day of trail riding or biking longer distances, if desired.

Flood added keeping the bike share running smoothly also relies on having the right number of bikes.

“So, say it takes you 15 minutes to bike across campus. The idea is you bike, lock your bike back up and go to class,” he said. “When you come out, somebody else has probably brought another bike. So you’re not necessarily going to ride the same bike you came in on. But if everybody’s using the system and it’s healthy and maintained correctly, then there’s always a bike available going where you need to go.”

But if riders know they’ll only be off the bike for a few minutes, they can opt for a 15-minute hold.

“One really cool feature is if the student wants to park the bike and grab coffee, they can actually lock it and put the bike on hold, instead of ending the ride and reinitiating that process. They can hold the reservation and keep it active,” said Katie Sargeant, director of Gotcha Bike.

There are about 3,000 registered bikes on Auburn’s campus each year. Out of that 3,000, Andre estimates half belong to students who pick up an inexpensive bike at a discount store just to get around campus.

“We end up with 1,500 at the end of the year because they don’t want them,” he said. “A lot of them are not bikers; they just buy it to get around campus. And that’s what this is for.”

Over the next couple of years, Andre hopes to grow the fleet to between 150 and 200, based on demand.

Gotcha Bike is designed to be a sponsored model without upfront equipment cost to universities. Institutions can opt to self-sponsor or partner with a corporate brand while Gotcha Bike funds the bikes, locks and technology. Auburn’s bikes feature the university’s iconic interlocking AU and “War Eagle Bike Share.” Eventually, Andre said, the bikes will also have secondary sponsors.

The company has contracts with Auburn, Georgia Tech, Florida State, University of Delaware and Northern Kentucky with the goal of expanding to universities nationwide.

The Gotcha Group began its partnership with Auburn in late 2010 when they brought Gotcha Ride to campus, a three-car fleet of eco-friendly vehicles for college students driven by other college students. Over the last year, the two have worked to develop the Gotcha Bike program, focusing on technology and student input.

“The partnership has been really strong. So when we developed this program, the university got very excited about it,” Flood said. “It seemed to make a lot of strategic sense to bring another concept to the campus.”

In considering options for transportation to encourage a more sustainable, green campus, university officials found a bike share program was the perfect choice.

“There’s not any parking on campus, and the cost of parking is just too expensive,” Andre said. With the sustainability issue, what we try to look at is what we can do to provide students a way to get around campus. We just kept looking and looking and decided a bike share program was the best thing to do.

“I think it’s really going to help students get around.”

The fleet is expected to be ready for student use soon.

http://www.oanow.com/news/auburnuniversity/gotcha-bike-set-to-roll-out-on-au-campus/article_e309a318-ba65-11e5-83d1-2bd0e9b69327.html

cynsxpnwaaavsf8 d274ea_93f843754e0f4944aa02b55acd9f7f27mv2 12509894_1671987573077183_4808708456940833959_n 12522912_1671987903077150_223394073196721656_n