Students have a new way to cruise after the installation of B-cycle terminals at Converse and Wofford colleges this week.
“We wanted to expand, and they wanted bicycles, so it seemed like a perfect match.”
The official opening of the terminals on Friday, April 12 at the B-cycle station on Spring Street mark the first expansion of the Partners for Active Living bicycle-sharing program since it was launched in 2011 as the first of its kind in the Southeast. Since then, the bikes have been used by 2,000 individuals, and 4,000 trips have been taken, said Laura Ringo, executive director of Partners for Active Living. “We wanted to expand, and they wanted bicycles, so it seemed like a perfect match,” Ringo said.
There will be eight bikes at each campus. They will be open for public use and are not exclusively for college faculty and students. The bicycles will be marked with each school’s logo, but they can be returned at any of the bike-sharing terminals.
Spartanburg City Councilman Robert Reeder said he was excited about the opportunity for linking Spartanburg’s downtown to the college campuses. “I think it would be a great avenue for students to get downtown. It will give them an opportunity to see our fine town and the shops and what they have to offer,” he said.
Since Partners for Active Living installed the bike terminals and Spartanburg became a bicycle-friendly city, Reeder said he has noticed more people getting around town using alternative transportation, including walking and riding bikes. In the past year, Reeder said he has observed more young people participating in those activities.
Phillip Stone, Wofford College archivist and professor, said he is looking forward to using the bikes that will be stationed on campus. Being legally blind and unable to drive, Stone said the bicycles will allow him more flexibility and mobility. “I ride the city bus a lot, so this is a nice alternative to that, particularly when the bus isn’t running,” he said.
Transportation was among Converse College students’ chief concerns on an annual school improvement survey, said Briana Batement, student government president. Students said they don’t participate in nearby activities because of a lack of transportation on campus, or its unreliable scheduling. Bicycling was identified as an attractive solution, but that also came with challenges.
“Sometimes it’s not an option for students to just go out and buy a bike when they don’t know anything about it,” she said. “These are just good bikes that are easy to use.”
The 16 tracker cruiser bicycles have three speeds and come with a basket, pedal-powered headlights and taillights, and a bicycle lock. Funding for the bikes comes from the colleges, Partners for Active Living and private donors. Ringo said funding has been secured for a fifth bike-sharing terminal at the healthy food hub being established in the Northside community.
More information about B-cycles can be found at http://spartanburg.bcycle.com/.
This article was writte by Felicia Kitzmiller of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Photo credit: Alex Hicks Jr.