BCycle bike-sharing program returns to Nashville

Thanks to a new partnership, BCycle is back in Nashville with a new fleet of e-bikes as a simple mode of transportation for students.

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Nashville riders on BCycle bikes in 12 South. (BCycle)

Marissa Tessier, Staff Writer

Nashville’s branch of the BCycle bike-share program, which has been operating since 2012 but was shut down due to COVID-19 concerns, finally returned to Nashville on July 28. The return was celebrated with a relaunch event, ribbon-cutting ceremony and inaugural e-bike ride downtown. BCycle, a subsidiary of Trek Bicycle, is working on improving transportation around the city through their bike-sharing program.

To bring bike-sharing back to Nashville, BCycle worked with the Nashville Downtown Partnership, a nonprofit managing bike-share programs since 2012. They’ve also teamed up with Walk-Bike Nashville to advocate for e-bike usage on Nashville greenways.

BCycle’s fleet of bikes returns to Nashville in full force. (BCycle)

“BCycle’s goal is very simple: to change the world by getting more people on bikes,” Morgan Ramaker, executive director of BCycle, said in an interview with The Hustler. “With bike-share, you reduce so many barriers to getting people riding and getting up and out of cars because you don’t have to go to a bike shop or spend a bunch of money on maintenance. We do all of that.”

The process of borrowing a BCycle bike is a fairly simple process. Riders can buy a bike pass online, on the app or at a bike kiosk. There are different passes depending on the user’s needs, with prices ranging from $5 for 30 minutes of bike use to $120 for an annual, unlimited 60-minute rides pass. Once they purchase a pass, users can choose a bike from one of 23 bike stations around Nashville and ride. When they are finished, they can return the bike to any station, not just the one they initially got the bike from.

“Anybody can just walk up, and for a few dollars, get a ride,” Ramaker said.

BCycle bikes are unique in that they are more than just a standard bike. BCycle stations are equipped with pedal assist e-bikes (electric bikes) that are capped at 15 miles per hour.

“E-bikes make it a more interesting and viable option for some people,” Ramaker said. “When you pedal, the e-bike supports your power when it’s on. It feels like you are a bit stronger, or you have a bit of a boost.”

BCycle’s map indicates how many bikes remain available at each kiosk. (BCycle)

BCycle bikes can be a great option for Vanderbilt students who want to get off campus and explore downtown Nashville without the need for a car and the costs that come with campus parking permits. Before BCycle bikes, students without cars on campus could only bike around town on their own bikes or rent a scooter from companies like Bird and Lime—but these scooters were banned from operation on campus in Fall 2020.

“E-bikes really help you get to more places without a car. We’ve even had conversations with the university about expanding BCycle’s presence to have more stations around the campus,” Ramaker said.