Can B Cycle get Americans out of their Cars and on to Bikes?

b cycle bike sharing stationBiking. For most American adults, it’s just not on the radar as a transportation option for more then casual use. B Cycle hopes to change that. And with the intersection of three powerful allies, an economy in trouble, and a population ready for and open to something different, now may be just the time for such an endeavor.

B Cycle is the marriage of the concept of car sharing, as exemplified by Zipcar and the like, but even more simplified for instant gratification, with an attractive retro futuristic solar powered docking station, coupled with additional information to give greater substance to the experience of using a bike, like how many calories you burned and how much carbon you offset vs. driving your car.

B Cycle has yet to launch, and they’re using the web to do some of their market research for them while encouraging demand and perhaps evangelism by people wanting to get it in their area: [social_buttons]

On the Who Wants It More? page, we the public go on there and say where we’d like to see B Cycle, giving a visual representation of the density of demand. Surprisingly, I didn’t see any people from bikecentric San Francisco, the home of Critical Mass, on there. Too early perhaps this having been only recently announced at the SXSW festival?

B Cycle is a collaboration of Trek Bicycles, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, and Humana. with Trek’s deep networks, proven and well liked bicycles, CP+B’s ability to bring awareness to and shift minds around whatever it sets out to, and Humana’s influence on people’s health (and preventative health) decisions, this has the potential to be much more then a lone endeavor by a passionate entrepreneur and their vision.

Take a look at their introductory video, and notice how effectively they hit the points people care about: Money, time, gas wasted, and the environment. Coupled that with the gee whiz factor of their unusual looking bikes with the idea that we’d be doing a trendy something Parisians are enjoying now, it’s a potent mix.


With effective messaging, strong, identifiable branding, good equipment, an intuitive interface, B Cycle could be the key to getting Americans out of their cars and onto bikes.

So, do you want this in your town? Let them know, here! Hello San Francisco, are you listening….

Readers: How are you, your job,  or your city incorporating bicycles in interesting ways? Comment below.

About the Author

Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations around, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media. Who he has and wants to work with includes consumer, media, clean tech, NGOs, social ventures, and museums. For more on GreenSmith Consulting, see He also writes for Triple Pundit
  • While the verdict is still out on the long term financial viability of bike sharing systems (read Velib and JCDecaux’s issue with total cost on maintaining the program), sharing programs no doubt increase bike use and sales in areas where they are prevalent. And long term that is the greatest benefit they will provide.

  • Dr. Goodwin

    Oh, I thought they were going to be electric bicycles. That would have been really innovative. It’s a shame they didn’t do that. Still, it’s a good idea. I hope it’s successful.

  • Awesome, awesome post. Completely informative and great for us as people.

  • Nessie3

    What is this article about? I’ve read it twice and I still have no idea what B-Cycle is.

  • It works in Paris… and just 2 years ago, cycling there required taking out a hefty life insurance policy and downing a few cans of the most XTreeeeeme variety of Mountain Dew available.

  • Wow, I had no idea there were all these comments until now! Yes, there are certainly going to be some hurdles to overcome, psychological, financial, and logistics, but this seems the most promising of the bunch. And to hear from Omid that their system there has circumvented what was a difficult process before, and is succeeding, gives hope.

    @Dr. Goodwin agreed, that would in some ways make it even better, but then there would be more mechanical logistics to deal with. But I recently had a chance to ride a prototype electric trike (three wheel bike) and it was almost to powerful! Great adrenaline rush, but it has bugs to work out to make it safe, usable by more people. Stay tuned, I’ll probably write about it hear later this year…