New bike-sharing program gets a rolling start

Dear Benny:
Is it true that there is an on-campus bike-sharing program that provides bicycles that can be used to ride around the city? I don’t own a bike, but there are times I would like to ride one for fun, or to do errands.
—Ready To Roll

Dear RTR:

Yes, there is a new bike-sharing program on campus called PennCycle. It was launched last month by juniors Chris Cruz and Elizabeth Cutler, and sophomores Alex Rattery, Madison Roberts, and Jenny Xia. The students received start-up money through the Penn Green Fund, which helps seed innovative ways to promote sustainability and reduce the University’s carbon footprint.

PennCycle is open to all students, faculty, and staff with a PennCard. To sign up, individuals must register, pay a $10 membership fee, and read safety information. PennCycle provides bike locks and helmets, which must be worn while riding bikes. Registration for the remainder of the Spring semester should be completed online at app.penncycle.org.

After registering, participants can go to Hill College House any day of the week, starting at 9 a.m., present their PennCard to a PennCycle associate, and get a pretty red bike. Under the rules of PennCycle, the bike must be returned to Hill College House before 7 p.m. However, riders can keep a bike overnight for an additional fee.

Sarah Fisher, sustainability strategic planning associate at Facilities and Real Estate Services, says the PennCycle project enables students to “create a sustainable lifestyle” by lowering the barriers for students to try urban biking. The PennCycle website also has a page with safety tips for those who aren’t used to riding on city streets.

The students behind the PennCycle initiative hope to expand the program next year by increasing the number of “service stations” where bikes can be picked up and dropped off. They would like to establish stations at the Quad and high rises, and perhaps even create one someplace off campus.

Originally published on April 12, 2012