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Posts from the Bike Nation Category


Bike Nation Lives…in Fullerton

Bike Nation kiosks are going up in Fullerton. Photo via Bike Nation

Reports of Bike Nation’s demise are at least somewhat premature.

The Bike share company began station installations in Fullerton last Friday and over the weekend.  The newly installed stations are at Fullerton’s City Hall, Transportation Center and the (South of Commonwealth) SOCO Parking Garage.  Additional installations will be completed this week.

This first round of installation is funded by a grant from the Orange County Transit Authority (OCTA). The $1.5 million OCTA contract will install a total of 165 bikes and 15 stations at a variety of locations within the City. In addition, Bike Nation committed to co-invest in the program by adding up to 35 stations and 350 bikes to the Fullerton system, resulting in a potential bike share reach for Fullerton of 50 stations and 515 bikes.

As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 135,161. Read more…

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Is Long Beach Looking to Roll Towards Bike Share without Bike Nation?

As Los Angeles quietly (but directly) abandons Bike Nation and Santa Monica pirouettes past both cities to pave the way for its city-wide bike share program, one can’t help but ask Long Beach: Are we continuing to go forward with a company which largely ignores the media, lacks a fulfillment of promises, and ultimately seems to wear a name tag it put on itself instead of earning?

No, this going to happen? Image via Bike Nation

The answer is… Maybe?

According to Andrew Veis of Supervisor Don Knabe’s office—Knabe, it should be noted, also sponsored the motion in encouraging MTA to find a viable bike share partner—it’s all up in the air.

“At this time it’s too early to tell what the implications of a bike share program are for Long Beach,” Veis said. “The motion you refer to was calling for Metro to look at the feasibility of a bike share program to connect Metro stations. It is still too early to know what kind of connection this would have with Mayor Garcetti’s plans for a City of Los Angeles bike share program.”

Or maybe the answer is… Yeah, Bike Nation is the bike share guy for Long Beach.

It should be noted that Long Beach doesn’t face the advertising revenue issues that Bike Nation faces with Los Angeles, which perhaps explains Long Beach Deputy City Manager Tom Modica’s acknowledgement.

“In Long Beach, we want to move forward,” Modica said, “so we are continuing to work with Bike Nation through our no-cost agreement as they roll their program out. If there were a Countywide Bike Share program as proposed below, we would be interested in discussing with Metro to see how Long Beach could benefit and perhaps supplement what Bike Nation rolls out. To this point there has been lots of discussion about regional bike sharing programs, but none actually moving forward.” Read more…


As Cities Big and Small Move on Bike Share, LA and LB Wait for Bike Nation

It’s been no major secret that things with Bike Nation aren’t pedaling so well.

Following New York City’s successful launch of the Citibike bike share program —yes, successful even with its flaws—it remains disheartening that two of the most bike-friendly cities in the nation, Long Beach and Los Angeles, have yet to have their moment when they can share themselves (although there remains an irony that Portland is hitting many bumps as well).

The promises of delivered bicycles and bike kiosks by certain dates ultimately failed. Now it’s nigh impossible to get Bike Nation to provide new launch targets for their Los Angeles and Long Beach programs because they don’t want to disappoint (again).

The reason for the delay in Los Angeles? A (supposed) major company somehow not knowing the advertising parameters set by the second-largest city in the U.S.

Even worse is the criticism and issues that have faced the location it has actually managed to get kiosks into: Anaheim.

Anaheim didn’t receive the amount of kiosks it had been promised; instead of 10, it received three, despite multiple promises before the Bike Nation backed out of the city completely. Add this to bicyclists from Anaheim informing me that their kiosk became unworkable during the rain. Yes, we do have inclement weather in Southern California. Even though Bike Nation had a 24-hour service call line where they never received a complaint, they’ve yet to officially address the claim.

“The City of Anaheim did not walk out on the bike share program,” said Ruth Ruiz, spokesperson for the City of Anaheim. “They chose to walk out themselves.”

Granted: there were restrictions in Anaheim—in regard to advertising, permitting costs, and creating a program within a resort town (gotta love Disneyland). For a company that relies on revenue, these restrictions made the program unsustainable in both the short- and long-terms.

This enters a whole new arena of issues: Given Bike Nation continues to offer the costs of its programs, why would it would back out for… Costs it knew it had to uphold? Even more, what does this say about Bike Nation’s aforementioned issues with advertising revenue with Los Angeles (the other city, mind you, in which it has formed a we’ll-cover-the-costs agreement with, promising kiosk locations everywhere from Venice to Downtown)? Certainly one would hope—keyword being “hope”—that they wouldn’t back out, as they did with Anaheim, because of unforeseen costs that should fall under the umbrella of costs they claim to cover. Read more…


Does L.A.’s Deal with CBS/Decaux Make Bike Nation’s Plans D.O.A.

While New York City is enjoying the successful launch of CitiBike, the nation’s largest bike share system, Los Angeles is still waiting for Bike Nation to begin installation of the 4,000 bike bike share system it promised at the April 2012 CicLAvia. The system was supposed to begin operation last winter, and then last April, but there is still no announcement for when the system will begin operation.

None of Bike Nation's renders or examples have advertising, so we're cool...right?

While the world laughs at the over the top, and really really over the top, media coverage of CitiBike, news reports on the West Coast have been more subdued about Bike Nation. In fact, the only recent coverage in a mainstream publication is an editorial in today’s Daily News, which admits that it doesn’t know much about CitiBike, bike share or Bike Nation.

But while we wait for news from Bike Nation, advocacy website published a piece today that offers one explanation for the delay: the advertising model that Bike Nation is counting on is not allowed in the city’s ordinance allowing bike share kiosks. In short, the ordinance disallows advertising on the kiosks that will hold the Bike Nation bikes. While Bike Nation refuses to give the specific numbers for its business model, it has stated that kiosk advertising was one of a few revenue streams that it is counting on. explains:

The City also places a number of restrictions on the bike share stations including:

  • No excavation or damage to the Public Right of Way and no permanent structures are allowed to be installed.
  • No advertising is allowed on non-moving property in the Public Right of Way. This means no street furniture-like advertising is allowed on the kiosks.
  • Advertising on bikes is required to be painted or decaled on the body of the bike.

Officials with the city and with Bike Nation have yet to comment on the story, or what the ordinance means for bike sharing in Los Angeles. Complicating issues, changing the advertising ban on kiosks is not as easy as just changing the words in a motion. Read more…


The (Kinda Sorta) Update on Bike Nation and Long Beach

The lane has been long, the rack has been non-existent as of now–but it seems that the many questions to arise out of the Bike Nation bike share program that is to be implemented in Long Beach are at least half-answered.

The announcement last August that Bike Nation would invest some $12 million into a bike share program here in Long Beach was met with astounding cheers (and a few naysayers who, confused about Bike Nation fitting the bill as well as the correlation between increased bike usage and decreased crime, thought the investment was pointless).

It was resoundingly positive because it feels like Long Beach–particularly for a mid-sized city, is keeping up with its attempt at being bicycle-centric. After all, New York announced some five years ago that it will create a bike share program and just last week, set into motion the nation’s largest bike-share system, Citi Bike. The $41 million investment by Citigroup has 330 locations with 6,000 bikes–soon to be 600 locations with 10,000 bikes. Within a few days, the program was already hitting over 10,000 trips a day.

The success isn’t relegated to New York–one of the most bicycle heavy cities since over half of its population lives without a car–but is becoming a nationwide phenomenon. Bike sharing programs are unquestionably on the rise–with some 22 programs existing as of now, that number expected to double by next year, according to the Earth Policy Institute, with the current 9,000 fleet of shared bikes expected to hit more than 36,000.

So amidst all this grandeur and brouhaha, where does Long Beach sit? Bike Nation (finally) gave its first update with the ability of Long Beach citizens able to nominate kiosk locations… But tangibility seems to have been left entirely out of the question, particularly given that the company announced it would host its first kiosk downtown back in February.

Crickets. Read more…


Video: Checks in on Bike Nation Anaheim

The team at took a trip to Anaheim last week to look at the work completed on the first installment of Bike Nation’s Anaheim system. The above video goes into the pros and cons of Bike Nation’s design and of bicycling in Anaheim, but overall the review is pretty positive. As Matt Christensen writes on

Our journey taught us two things: First, Anaheim is not bike-friendly and, second, Bike Nation Anaheim is in its beta stage. Despite the nascence of the program and its auto-centric setting, we found the system’s components to be relatively easy to use and comfortable.

Which is not to say the review was universally positive. For example, many of the bicycles they tried were stuck in second gear and the kiosks weren’t large enough to fit all of the bicycles at their destination. But overall, they found the system easy to use and the bicycles comfortable to ride.

For more, check out the video above. Bike Nation is working on expanding the bike share system in Anaheim from 3 to 10 locations and creating systems in Tustin, Long Beach and Los Angeles.


Bike Nation Announces Nine Kiosks for First Rollout of Los Angeles Bike Share in April 2013

Bike Nation announces 9 "target stations" for the first of several installations of the Bike Nation bike share program. Over the next five years, Bike Nation promises 400 docking stations and 4,000 bikes. Assuming the city doesn't veto any of the tentatively approved installations, this is map is the first nine stations. Image: Bike Nation

In just under an hour, Bike Nation will publicly announce the nine locations for kiosks in its initial rollout of what is promised to be a massive bike share system for Los Angeles. Last April, Bike Nation promised a 400 kiosk, 4,000 bike bike share system to be installed in Downtown Los Angeles, Westwood, Venice and Hollywood in the next several years. The bike share company promised to invest $16 million in its system. An independent estimate from one of their competitors estimates that they could earn $40 million in revenue in the next decade.

Apparently, they’re starting the rollout in Downtown Los Angeles. That makes sense, since 175 of the promised stations will be in Downtown Los Angeles. As shown above, the first nine kiosks are planned for:

  • Union Station
  • El Pueblo/Olvera Street
  • Caltrans Building (2)
  • City Hall (2)
  • County Hall of Administration Building
  • LAPD (2)

“We are excited to put stations on the ground in Downtown Los Angeles and begin the process of rolling out our bike share program and providing a safe, low-cost, healthy transportation alternative to Los Angeles residents,” writes Derek Fretheim, Bike Nation Chief Operating Officer. “The Company has already begun its site planning in anticipation of the City Council Motion and created a sample permit package consisting of initial station locations.”

Rather than go through a standard “Request for Proposal” process as has been done with the other large bike share systems in America, Bike Nation gave Los Angeles another option. Bike Nation approached the mayor’s office with a simple proposal, if Los Angeles creates a permitting system to operate private bike share on public property, then Bike Nation would invest in creating a private bike share system. Read more…


Bike Nation Unveils New Bike Design for Long Beach and Los Angeles

Generation 2. Picture from the press release.

Bike Nation, the bike share company that has struck deals to bring bike sharing to Anaheim, Long Beach and Los Angeles, unveiled a new bicycle design today at the Pro Walk Pro Bike conference in Long Beach. The “Gen 2 Made in the U.S.A. Bicycles,” (G2) will be used in Long Beach and Los Angeles, with the first generation  (G1) of bicycles going to Anaheim.

Generation 1

Bike Nation also announced that the G2 bicycles will be built in a facility in Southern California, unlike the G1 bicycles that were made by Rugged Cycles in Texas. An announcement on which company will be making Bike Nation’s G2 bikes is expected soon. Today, Bike Nation boasted that it is “supporting and sustaining manufacturing jobs and projects to create 150+ service jobs through 2013.”

“As we continue to grow bike share throughout Southern California and the country it was vitally important to us that we manufacture our bikes in the United States,” said Derek Fretheim, Bike Nation Chief Operating Officer. “Bike share programs have had great success in major metropolises around the world and, as an American-based company, we look forward to being an industry leader in providing cost-effective and eco-friendly options to commuters and visitors alike.”

Just because a bicycle is made in America and is “made in the U.S.A. certified” doesn’t mean that every part comes from America, especially when some of the custom parts needed aren’t made in any American factories. In Bike Nation’s case, several parts of the G2 bicycles come from other countries including bike gears, hubs and the shaft. However, that doesn’t impact the “Made in the U.S.A. certification” because those parts are not made in the United States.

Both G1 and G2 designs have are chainless and feature active GPS technology and airless tires, helping reduce the need for on-road service. Both have baskets in the front and wheel covers in the rear emblazoned with the Bike Nation logo. The kiosks for both bicycles look to be identical.

So what’s different? G1 bicycles used the frame from Rugged Cycles as the base. Builders then built the rest of the bicycles to specifications provided by Bike Nation.  Bike Nation redesigned the base frame from the single tube design in the G1 bicycles to a double tube design in G2. According to Fretheim, this won’t lead to any changes in the rider experience, but allowed them to purchase less parts from foreign companies. It’s not noticeable in the pictures, but there’s also a change in the basket design and mating dock where the bikes attach to the kiosks.

Bike Nation also claims the G2 bicycles are also made of 100% recycled metal and materials (certification pending.) Read more…


Long Beach: Bike Nation Brings 10 Year, $12 Million Investment

Rendering provided by Bike Nation

The Long Beach City Council, in a 9-0 vote, will permit Bike Nation to launch a 10-year, $12 million bike share program in the city, thereby creating one of the largest of its kind in the state.

Bike Nation, which manufactures its own GPS-equipped, airless-tires bicycles, was inspired by similar systems that developed in Europe, such as the successful DublinBikes in Ireland and Bicing in Barcelona. “Our business philosophy is that our bike share systems become part of the overall transportation fabric,” stated Jeff Pomeroy of Bike Nation. “It’s to provide our customers with a healthier way to experience their community; one without being encapsulated in an automobile.”

In addition to Bike Nation programs in Anaheim, Downtown Los Angeles, Westwood, Hollywood, and areas throughout Venice Beach, Long Beach will join the ranks as one of the largest with 250 kiosks that will allow citizens to access some 2,500 bikes throughout the city beginning Downtown in February of next year. With a Bike Nation membership, one can access bicycles in any city that has Bike Nation kiosks. In other words, a member ship purchased in Long Beach will work in Los Angeles or Anaheim or anywhere else Bike Nation opens shop.

Unlike some other cities, Long Beach’s Bike Nation program will be entirely paid for by the company, which has been working with the city since 2009. For Bike Nation, Long Beach had four essential components: quality bike infrastructure, community support for bicycling, a bike-able climate, and commitment from the city’s officials and staff. Read more…


Want a Bike Share in Your Backyard? If You Live Downtown, Tell Bike Nation

Screen grab from the "Suggest a Kiosk" homepage for Bike Nation.

It’s been a big week for Bike Nation. While most media will note their plans to bring 2,500 bikes to the City of Long Beach for another Southern California bike share program, a smaller project is going to get big attention in the Los Angeles bicycle community.

Yesterday, Bike Nation announced that registered users can submit locations to them through an online mapping program for bike sharing kiosks in Downtown Los Angeles. Earlier this year, Bike Nation announced plans to bring 4,000 bikes to a bike share program in Los Angeles focusing on Downtown, Hollywood, Westwood and Venice Beach. The Downtown is expected to be the first community to see the kiosks, hopefully by the end of this year.

But where will the bike kiosks go? Bike Nation has been mum on details, but has announced that they will be on both public and private land. The new “suggest a station” web map gives anyone a chance to tell Bike Nation where the kiosks ought to go or give a thumbs up or down to the ones already suggested.

“We understand that the success of a bike share program is based on providing affordable and, most importantly, accessible kiosks located within close proximity to areas of community-interest,” writes Bike Nation Chief Operating Officer Derek Fretheim. “This online campaign provides a voice to the community and is something we will certainly take into account as we determine the best kiosk locations in our network.”

Directions on how to use the website, provided by Bike Nation, are after the jump. Read more…