Lincoln’s rental bikes hit the streets this week, with little fanfare and just a couple of minor glitches.
During their initial rollout Tuesday, the still-shiny bikes were taken on about 20 trips, said Jamie Granquist, manager of BikeLNK, which is contracting with the city to provide the bike share program.
The bikes are available at 19 docks downtown and on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campuses, but four proved to be the most popular: 14th and N streets; the UNL student union; a Haymarket dock near HopCat and Hudl; and the dock at the U.S. Post Office.
Twice, the docks didn’t record a customer’s return of a bike, Granquist said, and BikeLNK staff had to contact the customer and make sure the bike was secure. But the bikes themselves, and the kiosks that take your money, worked well.
“It’s a pretty slick system,” she said. “We expect good things from it.”
Here’s how it works:
Three ways to pay
* Use a credit or debit card at the kiosk attached to each dock. A one-time, 30-minute ride costs $3 (with each additional 30 minutes also costing $3).
* Buy a membership (short- or long-term) for unlimited 30-minute trips. A 72-hour pass (designed for visitors) is $10. A 31-day pass is $12. And the 12-month pass — called Aluminum Access — is $80.
* Download the BCycle app to find and rent bikes.
The long-term memberships come with a fob that allow a bike to be checked out in a matter of seconds. A transaction at the kiosk takes less than a minute.
The three-speed Treks have a step-through frame (formerly called a girl’s bike), front and rear lights powered by hub generators, handbrakes, oversize seats and an upright riding posture.
At 35 pounds, they’re about twice as heavy as a high-end road bike or about 10 pounds more than an average mountain bike. But they’re built for comfort and durability — these bikes have to survive 365 days of use and weather.
If you do destroy a bike, or lose it, the replacement fee is $1,200.
BikeLNK’s 19 docks are scattered around downtown — as far east as 21st and Q, as far west as Canopy and P — and at UNL’s City, Innovation and East campuses. They’re designed for quick, one-way trips; a student could rent a bike at the union, for example, and return it near her off-campus apartment.
BikeLNK’s website and app both have real-time maps showing the number of bikes available at each dock.
Granquist has fielded plenty of ideas for additional docks, with the Children's Zoo and Sunken Gardens area the No. 1 request. Riders also want docks at SouthPointe Pavilions and Holmes Lake.
More docks are possible down the road, she said.
“The best way for us to expand the system is to use the system in place, to show people want it and people are using it,” she said. “We have grandiose plans to extend out from the current network.”