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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The new addition to UNCW’s campus, Hawk Wheels Bike Share is growing, and fast.

WWAY first told you about the new program last week and now 150 students and faculty members have signed up!

The program, created by Alternative Transportation Coordinator Nick Cannon to reduce abandoned bicycles across the university, has four stations and 25 bicycles for students and staff to ride at their convenience.

Users can get up to one hour free per day, or pay $25 a year for four hours a day. So far, the program has had more than 400 rides.

The eco-friendly bikes also show riders how many pounds of carbon dioxide they save and calories they have burned. Right now Cannon says users have burned more than 11,000 calories and saved 252 pounds of carbon dioxide by using sustainable transportation.

In January, UNCW will have a total of seven stations and 70 bicycles.

Nearly 150 students and faculty have signed up for the Hawk Wheels Bike Share since its Nov. 21 launch.

By: Cammie Bellamy StarNews Staff
WILMINGTON — At UNCW, Seahawks now have a free set of wheels to go with their wings.


UNCW junior Andrea Jones checks out Hawk Wheels bicycle Monday near Randall Library on campus. The bike0-share program allows students, faculty, and staff to check out bicycles for free. CAMMIE BELLAMY/STARNEWS

On Nov. 21 the University of North Carolina Wilmington kicked off the “Hawk Wheels Bike Share,” a program that allows people to check out bicycles around campus. Students, faculty and staff who sign up get one free hour of bike time per day, or can pay an annual $25 fee for four hours of daily use.

“We have a unique bicycle culture, and we wanted to make sure no matter what you were using a bicycle for, you could use (Hawk Wheels) for that,” said Nick Cannon, UNCW’s alternative transportation coordinator.

Currently there are 25 Hawk Wheels bicycles at five racks across campus, and in early January that will grow to 70 bikes at seven locations. Those who sign up for the program get a code to unlock the bicycles, which are tracked by GPS.

Want to get rolling?
The Hawk Wheels Bike Share is open to anyone with a UNCW email address. Users can sign up at, on or by downloading the Social Bicycles App. One hour’s worth of rides per day are free, or users can pay an annual $25 fee for four hours of daily use. For more information, visit
Source: UNCW Transportation
In his office in Warwick Hall, Cannon can see where people are checking the bicycles out, where they’re riding and how long it takes them. In two weeks 146 people have already signed up. Cannon said the average ride is four to five minutes and users are allowed to take the bikes off-campus.

“A cool feature we have is a rider’s ability to see how many calories they’ve burned, how many miles they’ve traveled and how many pounds of carbon they’ve saved,” he said. “So far, we’ve burned 10,351 calories as a university and saved 228 pounds of carbon.”

UNCW has contracted with Charleston-based Gotcha Group (shortened from “Green Operating Transit Carrying Humans Around”), which offers shuttle and bike-share services to schools around the South. Cannon said UNCW is paying Gotcha Group $110 per bike per month, which also covers maintenance. Part of the cost is covered by student fees: about $90 of the $2,596 a students pays each year goes to transportation.

With nearly 7,000 bicycles on UNCW’s 15,000-student campus, officials hope the bike-share solves another problem: the roughly 600 bicycles abandoned by students each year.

“We are a bike-friendly campus and we do want to encourage cycling, but we want to discourage irresponsible bicycle use,” he said. “The whole point of bike-sharing is to provide an alternative form of transportation that is more convenient and cost effective than your personal vehicle.”

Reporter Cammie Bellamy can be reached at 910-343-2339 or







Gotcha Bike Share

Charleston City Council backs bike-share plan

Share and share a-bike


Charleston leaders affirmed their support for a city-backed bike-share plan earlier this month. City Council members unanimously approved an initial program that, once fully realized, could offer tourists as well as residents a reliable transportation alternative.

According to Jacob Lindsey with the city’s planning department, the bike-share program will be revenue neutral for the city — paid for entirely by corporate sponsors and user fees — and operated by Charleston-based company The Gotcha Group.

“This is a very high-tech, cutting edge bike-share system that has learned from the best systems in D.C. and New York,” Lindsey told members of City Council earlier this month. “This is the best in class and it is run by a locally located company, which we think is great. They provide services to other cities and campuses across the country, but they are here in Charleston. We selected them in part because if we have a problem, we can call them up and they are here.”

Once finalized, the initial bike-share agreement will include seven bicycle stations located around the city. Lindsey said the city is not liable for any accidents that may occur with those utilizing the service. The exact location of the bike-share stations will need to receive final approval from the city’s Design Review Committee, which assesses any city-funded project that involves the alteration city streets, sidewalks, parking lots, park playgrounds, open spaces, or any other city-owned or operated property. These stations will not be permanently affixed to the ground and can be moved if necessary.

Councilman Mike Seekings, chair of the city’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, said that efforts to establish a bike-share program in Charleston have been in the works for almost three years. For Seekings, the GPS-based bike-share system could offer valuable insight into the traffic patterns of Charleston’s biking community.

“All the information from the GPS — that includes who is using the bikes, where they’re going and the like — will be shared with the city,” said Seekings. “So effectively at no cost to us, we’re going to have an amenity on the streets that the people of Charleston want, tourists will use, and will provide us our own traffic study for bike patterns, which is fantastic.”

Downtown bike shop Affordabike has long offered rental options at its King Street location, but the company has recently launched their own program offering bikes at remote rental stations around town. According to Affordabike owner Daniel Russell-Einhorn, the company has 60 bikes at 14 stations at hotels and short-term rental properties around town, but that number is growing, and they are actively seeking more locations to gear up for spring.

Bikes rented from the Gotcha Bike system can be returned to any one of the stations positioned around the city, according to Lindsey, and the location of each bike can be monitored remotely. Before voting in favor of the plan, Mayor John Tecklenburg spoke to the members of City Council regarding the benefits he believes the program offers for those living in Charleston.

“No. 1, I like the price. No cost to the city. That’s excellent. In addition to being a local company, Gotcha makes the bicycles here, so we wish them a lot of success on their business in other cities because they are employing folks in the city of Charleston to put these bicycles together and they certainly seem to be a quality product,” said Tecklenburg. “One of the reasons why I think it will be beneficial to residents in many ways moreso than tourists is that in addition to billing by the hour, they will allow you to buy annual license or use fee that a local person can use at a lesser rate than a visitor who may use it for three hours and then they’re done.”

Bike share program brings rentable bikes to UNCW with an accompanying app

Posted: Saturday, November 26, 2016 10:00 pm | Updated: 11:03 pm, Sun Nov 27, 2016.

This month UNC Wilmington became the first public university in North Carolina with a bike share program of UNCW’s status. Hawk Wheels is a bike-sharing system that allows students to borrow a bike to travel from point “A” to point “B” using smart technology. The bike share provider, Gotcha Group, is “the nation’s most advanced and sustainable bike sharing program.”

Starting Nov. 15, several smart bikes were available for students to ride, but come January 2017, the full-fledged program will have 70 bikes available at 10 stations.

 “[When choosing the station locations,] the most important thing is convenience,” said UNCW Alternative Transportation Coordinator Nick Cannon. He had to consider the space available because he did not want to pour new concrete.

In January, stations will be at Randall Library, Osprey Hall, Belk Hall, Cornerstone Hall, Wagoner Hall and Lot K. A station at the Amphitheater will also serve the Fisher University Union and the Fisher Student Center.

“If we reduce the amount of personal bikes on campus, then we don’t have to spend thousands of dollars every year adding new bike parking” said Cannon.

The university police collects hundreds of abandoned bicycles—600 on average—each year. By law, these bikes have to be impounded for at least 90 days at the police station, but they eventually get donated to the Brigade Boys & Girls Club.

“Students over the past several years have been really wasteful when it comes to their own bikes,” said Cannon.

For the first year, Hawk Wheels is funded by the student transportation fee. However, in the future, Cannon said he hopes that local businesses will take an interest in sponsoring the bikes and having a presence on campus.

Gotcha Group and Cannon recognize that every new program has a learning curve. Students will be responsible for the bike when riding, but the goal is not to charge fee after fee. Currently, there is an out-of-station fee ($10) and an out-of-zone fee ($50), but both can be avoided if students return their smart bike to a designated station. An out-of-zone fee will be charged if a student abandons their bike off-campus.

UNC Wilmington will be the first university to offer two different membership plans with Gotcha Group. The point-to-point plan offers students an hour of riding per day at no extra cost. “If you’re just looking to get from place to place pretty quick, the point-to-point is absolutely the best option” said Cannon. Students can reserve a bike for up to ten minutes before riding, guaranteeing transportation between classes.

The lifestyle plan is for students who prefer to bike for errands and exercise. It offers four hours of riding per day with a membership fee of $25 per year. If a student exceeds their allotted time on either plan, they will be charged two dollars for every extra hour.

“This campus and its terrain are very conducive to cycling” said Cannon. He hopes Hawk Wheels will be a great way for students to safely choose biking.

To get started, students should download the Social Bicycles app to register and track their carbon emissions saved and calories burned. >


NKU Tackles Carbon Footprint one commuter at a time

November 21, 2016

Eighty-six percent of students drive to campus alone in their own vehicle, according to a university administered commuter survey from February 2016.

But Leuhh Butsch is not one of them.

Butsch, an elementary education major, rides to school with two other students, four days a week.

She is among the 6 percent of students who carpool to campus.

“We all have a lot of our classes together,” Butsch said. “I don’t think the bus even goes out by my house. Plus, I can be on my own schedule and don’t have to worry about the routes or anything.”

While Butsch said she carpools because of the convenience, NKU’s Office of Sustainability has worked to provide several alternative transportation initiatives in an effort to decrease the school’s carbon footprint.

Partially due to the staggering rate of commuters, the sustainability department has promoted use of the TANK bus, as well as the on-campus bikeshare program. Students can even borrow a vehicle through Zipcar, a car-sharing program NKU took on in March 2015.


Tess Phinney, sustainability manager for NKU, said a greenhouse gas emissions inventory is completed every year that allows the university to track its carbon footprint.

“Our commuting data is actually a huge component of our institutional greenhouse gas emissions,” Phinney said. “We are aiming to get that 86 percent lower in the next survey.”

NKU’s biannual survey, which received 1,200 student responses, asked the NKU community a range of questions regarding their transportation techniques.

Elijah Grant, a junior business informatics major, is a part of the 3 percent of students who ride the TANK bus.

He said riding the bus eight times a week provides an alternative to the obstacles of on-campus parking.

“It’s really expensive to park on campus,” Grant said. “The environmental advantages are a plus, too.”

For years NKU students have had access to free TANK transportation just by showing their NKU all card.

In addition to promoting the use of the TANK bus, the Office of Sustainability has also played an instrumental part in launching the bike share program, which came to campus in April 2015.

The bike share program allows students to check out a bike with their smartphones for up to two hours at no cost. Three hubs located at Callahan, the Student Union, and in the residential village provide an eco-friendly way to traverse campus.

Students have a third option as well: renting from the Zipcar service located near the Welcome Center. Students can join a membership to Zipcar and rent one of the two rental cars available on campus for up to an entire weekend. The membership covers gas and insurance on the vehicle.

“There’s even a possibility of increasing the number of zipcars if there is a demand for it,” Phinney said.

Students now have two more alternative transportation options. These initiatives are a way to reduce the University’s gas emissions.

“I want to see people taking advantage of these services,” Phinney said. “Not many other places have free transportation.”

The next commuter survey in 2018 will address the usage of the bikes and Zipcar initiatives.

Bike share program goes before Charleston council Thursday

A citywide bike share system that Charleston officials and bike enthusiasts have talked about for years could become a reality this week, and its first bikes could appear by next spring.

On Thursday, City Council is expected to vote on a contract with the Gotcha Group, the Charleston-based company selected in February to operate a high-tech system of bikes and corrals around the city.

“The process has been long, but a good one, because so many people have had a chance to weigh in,” said Gotcha Group founder Sean Flood. “It makes me as an owner feel even better about the system.”

The main provisions of the three-year deal give Gotcha Bike permission to operate in the city. The company would be responsible for 100 percent of its funding, operations, maintenance and management. It also establishes a process for locating bike corrals on public property.

Council’s Traffic and Transportation Committee recommended approval of the contract earlier this week.

The initial roll-out would deploy 250 bikes at 15 corrals downtown. More than half of those stations would not be on city property, such as corrals on the Medical University and College of Charleston campuses.

For any current or future corrals planned on public property, the company will have to go before the city’s Design Review Committee to get approval of their scope, design and locations.

Some locations already identified by the committee include Moultrie Playground near Colonial Lake; Hampstead Park on the East Side; Elmwood Avenue near the Citadel; Ann Street near the Visitor Center; George Street across from the Gaillard Center; next to the S.C. Aquarium parking garage; and on Liberty Street near King Street.

Flood said he fully supports that approval process.

“I kind of like that it’s not just us in the future deciding where racks should go,” he said. “We’re really comfortable with the launch plan so that we know we have a system that will work, it will be effective, and that they’re in the right spots.”

 If City Council agrees on the contract terms, it would proceed to a final vote in a few weeks. Flood will then have to present the corral locations again to the Design Review Committee.

Once the company has all the necessary permits from the city, Gotcha can then start building the bikes and corrals. It could be another few months until the system is on the streets, according to City Planner Jacob Lindsey.

Gotcha Bike won’t cost the city anything because riders will pay to use the bikes on an hourly basis, or they can pay upfront for a long-term pass to use them as needed. The Gotcha Group also will receive income through sponsorships. The title sponsor of the Charleston fleet hasn’t been announced.

Bikes could be checked out with a smart phone app, online or from a keypad on the rear of the bike.

A built-in lock will be released with a unique numeric code on the keypad, which frees users to take the bike and lock it up wherever their destination is. It must be returned to a Gotcha Bike hub for the paid trip to end.

Reach Abigail Darlington at 843-937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail.

BIS in brief: Savannah State seeks awards nominations


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.

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