Interview With Brian Conger of Madison B-Cycles

September 20, 2011 interview with Brian Conger-Madison B-Cycle City Manager:

1.      How are people reacting to the B-cycles in Madison?

Overall we’ve seen a very positive reaction from people as B-cycles have gone in. Reactions range from curiosity to genuine excitement. While we occasionally get skeptical reactions from some, this skepticism generally fades away after they’ve tried out the B-cycles or the understand more about the program, how it works, and what its goals are. People are astonished at how quickly the stations have gone in, and also at how many stations are in Madison already—currently 24 active stations and nearly 300 B-cycles.

2.      What is the best thing about having B-cycles here in Madison?

Imagine the sense of freedom you first experienced when you learned how to ride a bike—the ability to get anywhere you want to go using the simple power of your own body. Now imagine having that sense of freedom available to anyone who wants to take advantage of it, anytime they are in downtown Madison. Need to get to a meeting on the other side of the Capitol? B-cycle. Want to get to a new restaurant downtown without the hassle of parking a car? B-cycle. Visiting Madison and want to experience the city on two wheels? B-cycle. With B-cycles spread throughout the downtown you are always a short walk away from getting anywhere you want on a bike.

3.      What changes will people see in the future?

We are always looking for ways to improve the system and user experience. As for concrete changes we are planning for, expect to see GPS tracking devices added to all the bikes in the system for 2012. This will allow users to log-in to their online profile and see a map of where they biked using the B-cycle, in addition to up-to-date information on miles bikes, etc. We will continue to add more stations throughout 2011 and into the start of the 2012 season.

4.      Areas with mandatory helmet laws (other countries) have noted decreased participation, do you think the fact people can ride without helmets helps increase usage?

Needing to bring your own helmet would definitely serve as a barrier for some people using the system, so having the option to legally ride without a helmet adds a level of convenience for our program.

5.      Currently it seems most stations are close to downtown, is there any plan for b-cycles expansion to suburbs or outer limits of the many bike trails?

Station density is an important component of our station configuration, but we are always looking to expand the stations in ways that can benefit the system as a whole.

6.      How does B-cycle strengthen the Madison cycling community and make Wisconsin a better state for bicycling?

The goal of bike sharing programs is to get more people on bikes by making it quick and convenient to do so. By placing bikes on convenient locations throughout the city we are removing one major barrier to them taking a trip via bicycle—you are always just a short walk from getting on a bike in Madison’s downtown. What is great about our program is that it is easily accessed by all sorts of people, whether they are regular bikers or if they have not been on a bike in years. More people on bikes is good for the cycling community, Madison, and Wisconsin as a whole.

7.      Other comments or cool info.

Year to date: 12,300+ Trips on the Bikes, 5,164 memberships purchased, 328 Annual Members. Here is a link to a press release on some great promotions we’ve got running this week:

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