MEMPHIS—Explore Bike Share, a nonprofit bringing a 60-station, 600-bike bike share system to Memphis this spring, has revealed its station location map and official system brand and website.
Explore Bike Share’s 60 stations span from Downtown, South Memphis, and Cooper Young to Orange Mound, Overton Square, and Crosstown. Locations have been determined based on multiple criteria, including solar power accessibility, density, proximity to other transit options, neighborhood usage, and ongoing community engagement efforts. Ongoing neighborhood conversations, as well as a digital effort in late 2017 to capture pins on an interactive map of Memphis, resulted in over 3,500 “pins” submitted by citizens for potential station locations.
“We’ve made an organizational commitment to create an equitable system that is affordable, available and sustainable,” said Trey Moore, Executive Director of Explore Bike Share. “While we believe this site map reflects our mission wholeheartedly, we’re intentionally installing a system with malleable components to allow for potential shifting within neighborhoods or intersections as needed. Therefore, if a station is best suited on the other side of the storefront or on an adjacent street, we’ll assess the data, listen to the community and reconfigure.”
The system is the first and largest of its kind in the nation, as Explore Bike Share’s manufacturing partner BCycle was selected by a community board of advisors in Memphis to launch the largest Dash system yet, fueled by solar power with forward-facing touchscreens, whose technology can capture data related to miles ridden, calories burned, and popular routes. The new technology allows for malleability both physically and geographically.
Another first for the bike share industry is Explore Bike Share’s two stations in West Memphis, Arkansas, making Explore Bike Share the first two-state Dash system in the country.
“We’ve felt the impact of bike traffic into West Memphis due to the connectivity of Big River Crossing, so we knew we needed to invest in this bike share system,” said Jim Jackson, Executive Director of the West Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Explore Bike Share has been identified as a national model for its equitable engagement prior to launch.
“Rather than simply putting bikes on the street and reacting, we’re proactively giving Memphians the opportunity to have ownership over these bikes and their locations,” said Sara Studdard, Community Engagement & Marketing Director. “They’re putting pins in a map, guiding our site planning practice, and even eagerly unboxing the bikes hours after arrival into the market. We’re grateful for the involvement from every kind of Memphian imaginable. This system truly is built for Memphis by Memphians.”
To implement the system itself, Explore Bike Share has hired a growing team of locally-hired bike technicians, led by new Bike Fleet Manager Jon Peg, who previously ran operations at Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op. Charence King an Orange Mound resident and volunteer with Explore Bike Share since 2015, has joined the team, along with Ellis Clemons from Advance Memphis.
The operations team is currently implementing technology as a result of over 300 community volunteers’ sign-ups to physically “unbox” the 600 box-shipment of bikes in February.
“Explore Bike Share’s tangible examples of community mobilization are a model for other organizations to follow,” said Steve Nash, Executive Director of Advance Memphis. “My forklift drivers were engaged to unload the bikes, and now our graduate Ellis has been hired full-time as a bike technician. Advance Memphis is honored to be involved—and we’re excited to get a bike share station across the street, too!”
“We are fortunate to have this team onboard to build and implement BCycle’s smart kit technology,” said Operations Director Rajah Brown. “We’ve been working every day in the warehouse to get these bikes fully equipped for ridership. Explore Bike Share is not just a transportation and tourism amenity—it is a fullyrunning business hiring local workforce.”
Explore Bike Share’s revenue relies on usage and sponsorship. Its membership costs are committed to being affordable for visitors and all Memphians whether through community partnerships or existing health programs. Membership options are as follows:
- Single Ride: $5
- Weekly Membership: $12
- Monthly Membership: $15
- Annual Membership: $120
Weekly, monthly and annual memberships offer users unlimited 60-minute rides from one station to another. If more than 60 minutes pass before the user docks their bike at a station, overtime usage fees will apply. However, users may dock from one station to the next to ensure their hourly allowance does not expire.
Membership will be offered closer to actual launch, but two payment opportunities are now live on the new website explorebikeshare.com: the “name on a bike” dedication and “Give Your Neighbor a Lift” donation opportunities.
For $500, one can dedicate a bike with a name of your choice (with a 25-character limit), to be printed and installed on a bike share bike’s front fork for all to see and appreciate. An one-year annual membership will be included in the transaction.
A “Give Your Neighbor a Lift” membership for $200 will support an annual membership for both yourself and a member of the Memphis community in need of greater transportation access. This missional model, thanks to the generosity of Memphians, will secure access to more citizens. Donors will receive a code to redeem membership when membership sign-ups become publicly available.
“We’ve said from day one that every Memphian deserves access to quality transportation options,” said Roshun Austin, Explore Bike Share board member and Executive Director of The Works CDC in South Memphis. “We’re all paying it forward with Explore Bike Share, whether through a ‘Give Your Neighbor a Lift’ donation, a new bike programming series around town, or simply advocacy for our organization.”
Explore Bike Share’s new look, which is now live on explorebikeshare.com and social media channels, brings a new color palette and brand elements of energy, spirit and ease. The headline, “It’s just like riding a bike,” reflects the approachability that this transportation amenity can offer Memphians and visitors, no matter the distance. Bikes, station kiosks, and other assets, branded by DCA, will be embedded in the market throughout implementation this Spring.
“When the effort was initiated three years ago, the name ‘Explore Bike Share’ was deliberately chosen not to bring bike share to Memphis, but rather to explore people’s thoughts and reactions for bike share’s potential success,” said Sara Studdard. “When the effort yielded a positive reaction, a 501(c)3 was established—and when discussion of system name came up, it was unanimously approved that EBS would be fantastic transition to the trade name. Now, Explore Bike Share has become a call to action for the consumer to see the city and explore Memphis via bike share.”
System sponsors’ brands will affect Explore Bike Share’s bike baskets, payment kiosks, and other physical and digital elements based on level of investment. Sponsors will be revealed at launch.
“While bike share is an incredible marketing tool recognized by leading national companies, it’s new to Memphis,” said Executive Director Trey Moore. “Nonetheless, we’re actively receiving calls from Memphis businesses across all levels who realize the overwhelming benefits of brand association with bike share, from HR and employee recruitment/retention to public relations and marketing exposure to over 11 million annual tourists as well as our citizens. We’re excited for all to illustrate their commitment to and benefit from this unique and transformational effort.”
Learn more at explorebikeshare.com
ABOUT EXPLORE BIKE SHARE. Explore Bike Share is a Memphis 501(c)3 that is implementing a robust bike share system and transportation tool to advance the city on multiple fronts—including but not limited to transportation, tourism, health, environment, and culture—with access to as many Memphians as possible. Initially launching with a 600-bike system in Spring 2018, the system will expand to 900 bikes by 2019. For more information, visit explorebikeshare.com