You know you’re at a Bicycle Friendly Destination when…

…A receptionist holds open the door for you as you roll your bike into the building.

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Levi with a full rack of bike parking at Epipheo

This is the wonderful treatment I received at a meeting at Longworth Hall today (and the receptionist watched over my bike too!). The beautiful historic rail warehouse is certainly not stuck in the past. We were treated to a tour of the building which houses numerous local businesses. Two of the tenants,  Dot Loop and Epipheo, have done some incredible things to support bicycling and their biking employees.

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Metro Unveils First Ticket Vending Machine

Cincinnati Metro

Using Cincinnati Metro to Bike & Ride just got easier!

Metro passes and stored-value cards will be available 24/7

CINCINNATI – Metro’s quest to make riding more convenient continues with the addition of its first ticket vending machine, installed downtown at the Government Square information booth near the corner of 5th and Walnut Streets. Now open to the public, the machine provides 24/7 access to Metro passes and stored-value cards.

The SPX Corporation’s GFI Genfare machine provides easy-to-use convenience for Metro riders. It offers all Metro 30-day rolling passes including Metro/TANK passes, and $10, $20 and $30 stored-value cards.

The machine accepts cash (exact amounts only) or credit cards. It does not accept coins, but will be able to accept dollar coins starting this summer. Up to four passes can be purchased per transaction. The machine is under 24-hour video surveillance for enhanced security. It is also specially designed to offer Spanish language translation, and braille and audio-translations for our visually and hearing impaired customers.

More ticket vending machines will soon be available in the Clifton area near the University of Cincinnati in the new Uptown Transit District and at other high-traffic transit transit hubs.

Metro is working on additional fare options for customers that will be available in Metro pass sales outlets and ticket vending machines. Metro passes will continue to be sold at a dozen Cincinnati locations and online at www.go-metro.com.

For a diagram showing how to use the ticket vending machine, click here.

Metro is a non-profit, tax-funded public service of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, providing about 17 million rides per year in Greater Cincinnati.

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Cinci Holiday Bike Drive Brings the Joy of Bicycling to Cincinnati Children

We asked for the our friend Cheryl Sussel, creator and driving force of the Cinci Holiday Bike Drive to write up what the project has been up to over the last year and what we can look forward to in 2014. Check out her story:

Bicycle mechanics hear many stories — stories of broken spokes, miles ridden and races won. DSC_0066 resize (1)But the most commonly heard story is about a person’s first bicycle. Often it is the story of how the person’s first bicycle introduced them to their love of bicycling.

It is these stories that compelled a small group of bicycle mechanics to start the Cinci Holiday Bike Drive — we hope to bring the joy of bicycling to low-income children in Cincinnati.  The volunteer-run project simultaneously aims to improve family and child health by promoting cycling in the community.

Last December we held our first Bike Giveaway Day.  We gave 46 children a refurbished bicycle and their own “first bicycle story.”

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Ohio Women’s Bike Summit Announced for 2014

The Ohio Women’s Bike Summit is returning to Columbus this year. The Summit was started last year, and is considered the first in the nation of it’s kind.

So mark your calendars! The 2014 Ohio Women’s Bike Summit will be Saturday, May 3rd in Columbus, OH. Check out the Facebook event page for more details, tickets, etc..

Get in touch with us if you need help finding a place stay (if you would like to go early/leave late), arrange carpool rides, or bikes in Columbus.

Here are a couple articles from last year’s summit:

http://www.columbusunderground.com/ohio-womens-bicycling-summit-wants-to-close-the-gender-gap-jm1

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/05/10/summits-goal-adding-more-female-cyclists.html

http://outloudmag.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/the-women-behind-ohios-first-ever-womens-bicycling-summit/

Cincinnati Metro and Queen City Bike – A Great Transportation Alliance

Check out this highlight video created by Cincinnati Metro summing up 2013:

Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeTb_Xj_EI8

Metro’s and Queen City Bike’s collaborations have been highlighted at three different spots (but you should watch the whole video).

See:

QCB was recognized at Metro's 40th birthday this year

QCB was recognized at Metro’s 40th birthday this year.

0:46 “Bicycle Safety with QCB in Government Square”

1:26 Bike to Work Day at Washington Park

3:33 Metro and Bicycle Santa Treat Customers

We are looking forward to another great year improving bicycle and public transportation services in Cincinnati.

 

WCPO: Cincy Bike Share planners need more funds to roll out service that could be boon to getting around. Christine Charlson, WCPO Contributor

CINCINNATI — For people who live, work or play downtown, a two-wheeled transportation option may be on the horizon, as planners gear up for Cincy Bike Share.

They say the eco-friendly system will reduce traffic congestion and harmful emissions by offering a healthy alternative to driving.

“One thing we’ve seen is these bike shares have taken off wherever they start,” said Jason Barron, executive director Cincy Bike Share, Inc. “Demand picks up when people have alternatives. And when they have alternatives, they really embrace them, really get excited about them and take them on. So we’re pretty confident that we’ll see that exact same effect here.”

How it works

While a relatively new concept to the U.S., Barron explained bike shares have been operating successfully throughout Europe and Asia for more than a decade. Unlike bike rentals, where users keep the same vehicle for the entire day, bike share stations are designed for riders to take short trips from point to point, docking their bike after each ride.

Day passes and memberships include 30 to 45 minutes of free rides with fees incurred for additional time. Barron explained the system is designed for users to travel distances too far to walk within the downtown area without having to use a car.

“We’re almost like a new system of transit in Cincinnati,” he said. “So while we’re nothing like Metro busses, we’re the same kind of amenity. It’s something people can use to get around.”

Cincy Bike Share Phase I:

  • Proposed launch: summer 2014
  • Estimated 20 docking stations with 200 bikes (10 per station)
  • Locations: central downtown area and Over-the-Rhine (yet to be determined)
  • Estimated membership cost: $75 to $85 per year, daily pass $6 to $8

With initial startup costs of $1.3 million and $500,000 to operate annually, Barron said Cincy Bike Share–a nonprofit–still needs most of its funding and is seeking corporate sponsors. Funding in other cities varies from a single corporate sponsor, like the Citibank-sponsored bike share in New York City, to multiple sources as in Denver.

Cincy Bike Share already has some money from the Haile Foundation and Interact for Health, but has a long way to go. Since stepping into the role of executive director in December, Barron said his top priority has been to aggressively pursue financial backing for the project. He’s hoping other sponsors will be attracted by the buzz other companies throughout the world have gotten by attaching their names to similar programs.

“Businesses that become sponsors for bike shares have seen a great benefit to their brand; it turns out to be a really unique and powerful advertising opportunity,” he said. “For instance, Citi Bike in New York sponsored by Citibank reported their internal analysis showed numbers of ‘favorable impressions of Citigroup’ jumped 17 points from May to July, essentially the first three months that bike share was open.”

Will it catch on?

Once Cincy Bike Share secures funding, Barron plans a robust marketing campaign for its launch. He sees potential for selling bulk memberships to downtown: to businesses for their employees and apartment buildings for their residents.

He said as former director of public affairs for Mayor Mark Mallory, he recognizes the increased demand for urban living among young professionals, empty-nesters, corporate executives and families. He believes a bike share is the exact type of urban amenity which acts as a catalyst to increase residency.

“It makes for a better lifestyle downtown because it makes for a better experience,” he said.

If the first phase of Cincy Bike Share takes off,  the service could expand to uptown and Northern Kentucky. He feels confident in the success of the program, as operators have perfected the system.

Barron said past bike shares in other cities have failed to thrive because there were enough stations in close proximity to meet the need. With the initial 20 docking stations, he explained the Cincy Bike share will evaluate and adjust locations based on feedback.

“So hopefully, you’ll be able to park anywhere in the city and you won’t have to seek out a bike station because they’ll be all over the place – and that will contribute to the success because it’s so convenient,” he said.

“Sharrows” and safety in numbers

Alta, the company which operates New York’s Citi Bike program, reports that with 93,000 members there have been no fatalities during the five-month period since its debut.

So, Cincinnati safe for bicyclists? According Melissa McVay, city planner with the Department of Transportation and Engineering, as part of the 2010 Bike Plan, the city continues to add dedicated bike lanes and “sharrows” (shared car and bike lanes) to increase safety.

“Research tells us having that separated space in the street is one of the things that makes people feel safer and encourages exponentially more people to start bicycling for transportation. That’s really important,” she said.

Riding on city streets can be intimidating at first McVay said, but she explained downtown is a great place to learn because of the slower speed limits and predictable traffic patterns. She points to studies from cities across the country that show installing bike shares increases the number of riders on the streets, in turn making the streets safer; when more riders take to the streets, motorists become far more accustomed to sharing the road.

“There’s literally safety in numbers,” McVay  said. “When the number of people riding bicycles in your community goes up, the percentage of accidents actually goes down.”

The path to bike share

The idea for the bike share grew out of the Cincinnati USA Chamber’s Leadership Cincinnati program in 2011. Then, in 2012, the City of Cincinnati conducted a feasibility study comparing similar cities with systems in place.

The conclusion? That bike sharing was a viable concept for the region. Next, Cincy Bike Share Inc. forged a partnership with B-Cycle, LLC which operates bike share programs in more than 25 other cities around the country. Next, Green Umbrella stepped up to serve as an interim fiscal sponsor fo until the IRS approves the new nonprofit’s tax-exempt status.

“We can be a nonprofit, fiscal agent for initiatives that are clearly helpful for improving the quality of the environment and promote our broader agenda of making Cincinnati one of the top 10 most green, sustainable metro areas in the country by 2020,” said Green Umbrella executive director Brewster Rhoads.

From a “green” standpoint, Rhoads said, there are a number of benefits of the program–beginning with reduced emission from cars on the streets. He explained people can avoid the hassle factor of taking cars in and out of garages during the day to make short trips. Secondly, he said bike share programs promote a healthy lifestyle by increasing activity and connecting people to the outdoors. He said it also connects the city, allowing people to venture further and explore.

“And finally, it’s encourages public transit, which is another goal that we have,” he said. “We’d like to increase the number of people who regularly use public transit in Greater Cincinnati which has obvious environmental benefits as well.”

The biggest marketing tools for bike share are the stations themselves, Barron said. He believes people seeing the stations will tap into “the inner child just dying to get back on a bike.”

“The stations will be 20 advertising locations throughout the city where people can stop by and learn about the system and purchase memberships right there,” he said. “We’re hopeful that the downtown phase will be really successful and it will kind of really push the other phases to follow it.”

 

 

 

What you need to know in case of a bike crash

It is important to know what to remember in a crash before you are in one.

First, Know Your Rights:

Do you know the bike laws? Both state and local laws protect you in a crash.

You can download Cincinnati’s Pocket Guide To Bike Laws here.

For State Laws and safe bicycling practices see:

Ohio Bicycling Street Smarts

Kentucky Bike Laws

Indiana Bike Laws

After a Crash, Be Sure To:

  • Seek Medical Attention. You may not realize how injured you are in the confusion of a crash.
  • Call the police. Insist that the police come to the crash site and file a report. Request a copy of the crash report from the officer.
  • Collect information. Get drivers license numbers, insurance card info, license plate (especially in the case of a hit-and-run), witness name and contact info, document injuries and damage with photos, keep your medical documents and receipts.
  • Consider Legal Action. You may want to take legal action. You also may want to speak with a lawyer before speaking with an insurance company. Legal options may include criminal prosecution or suing an offender. For more assistance with legal matters, please write us at info@queencitybike.com.

Reporting a Crash

Report both bicycle crashes and incidents of harassment with the City of Cincinnati here. Choose the “Bicyclist Incident” option in the right hand column.

Report any incidents with METRO buses AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Be sure to record

  1. Day and time
  2. Location
  3. Direction Traveling
  4. Bus # and/or route number/name
  5. Detailed description of what happened

Please send this information to
Sallie Hilvers at shilvers@go-metro.com or 513-632-7681
or Jill Dunne at jdunne@go-metro.com or 513-632-7568.

E-Bikes, A Perfect Fit for Many Cincinnatians

Electric-assisted Bicycle (e-bike) Commuting

               My e-bike makes it a pleasure for me to commute for work, a ride of about 14 miles from Pleasant Ridge to Milford. I like to bike two or three days per week in warm weather, and one or two days per week most weeks in the winter. When I bike to work I look forward to the morning ride and to the trip home in the evening.
Ray and his e-bike

Ray and his e-bike

My wife, Leah, and I have hybrid trail bikes we use mostly for rides on bike trails. For commuting and shopping trips and such, we have e-bikes.

              Typical e-bikes have front or rear hub motors, a battery pack, and wiring that includes a throttle system. Inexpensive e-bike systems, available for a few hundred dollars,  use cheaper batteries and are best for trips under ten miles. More expensive systems, ranging from $1000 to $3000, have greater range and power.  I have also looked at reasonably priced gas-motor assist systems, but they were too noisy, finicky, and smelly for my liking. Battery-powered systems are relatively quiet and easy to maintain. I’ve seen a few other e-bikes and e-trikes around Cincinnati, so they are becoming more common. Continue reading
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Queen City Bike Valet

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Want to encourage bicyclists to attend your community event? Queen City Bike Valet is a great answer to finding enough secure bike parking for festivals, fairs, concerts, sporting and other outdoor events. Bike Valet is convenient and easy to use: we set up a secure area and watch attendees’ bikes for them while they enjoy themselves.

Bike Valet not only makes your bicycling attendees feel specially taken care of, but you are encouraging alternative transportation to your event, as well as freeing up valuable parking spaces for even more guests.

Pricing for your event varies based on the size and scale (Discounts for non-profits, churches, and schools). For more information about rates and to reserve Bike Valet for your event please contact Nern at 513-205-3059 or Nern@QueenCityBike.com.

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Upcoming Events featuring a Bike Valet:

 

Reflections from our first bike camping trip

We made it!

The total number of 18 riders throughout our trip we covered over 70 miles up to Morgan’s Riverside Campground and back to Newtown OH.

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Our bike gypsy camp in the woods

 We had among our ranks 3 youngsters, one recumbent, one trumpet, one banjo, and two bike trailers. We had experienced bike tourers riding along with some who had never ridden more than ten miles in a day. You can look forward to another QCB Member camping trip this spring, probably in either April or June. We had such a great time, we can’t wait to travel more miles together in the future!IMG_2904