Urban bike sharing company Charlotte Joy Rides has a new name, a new look and a really cool new feature. Formerly Charlotte BCycle, the company’s 250 revamped e-assist bikes hit the streets of Charlotte on Wednesday — and you might notice that they go a little faster. (Its new website will be unveiled at the same time.)
Riders can now channel their inner Lance Armstrong with a turbo boost button that allows the bike to go up to 15 mph. So if you’re running late to meet a friend or spent a little too much time picnicking in Romare Bearden Park on your lunch break, you can get to where you need to be quickly.
“Charlotte Joy Rides’ pedal-assist bikes are going to be life-changing,” said Dianna Ward, owner and executive director of Charlotte Joy Rides. “With the additional power from the electric assist, people will be able to travel farther, faster.”
It’s not just the speed that’s been taken up a notch, the bikes themselves have been transformed into moving pieces of art, thanks to a team of Charlotte artists. In partnership with Atrium Health, Blue Cross of North Carolina and Charlotte City Center Partners, Joy Rides commissioned seven local artists to design the fleet of bikes.
“I was honored to be one of the artists selected,” Marcus Kiser said. “As a member of the Sol Nation Collective, I love the idea of using art and design to bring awareness to renewable energy resources to combat environmental injustices.”
Kiser joined other local artists Sydney Duarte, Sam Guzzie, Georgie Nakima, Nick Napoletano, Owl from Arko & Owl and Rosalia Torres in creating the mobile art.
“Art and innovation go hand in hand. It’s great to see Charlotte embrace sustainable transportation solutions that are not only fun, but functional to the city,” Napoletano told CharlotteFive recently. “This is where we are headed: Where art and design, utilitarian function and beauty work together to make a more beautiful world that we can pass onto our children and our children’s children.”
“Charlotte Joy Rides, with these e-assist bikes and new stations, are a game changer for our community and will raise the bar on the experience our residents, workers and guests enjoy as they move through Center City,” said Michael J. Smith, president and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Community Relations District Manager Michael Restanio called the bikes a “fun and healthy way to explore Charlotte.”
HOW TO RIDE
Charlotte Joy Rides are available at 33 kiosks around uptown Charlotte and adjacent neighborhoods.
“Joy Rides has always been very intentional about locating stations so that they integrate with public transportation and bicycle infrastructure, such as greenways and bike lanes. Residents of the urban core, where the majority of our stations are located, will be able to choose a bike-only lifestyle,” Ward said.
Introductory pricing is $5 for a 30-minute Flash Pass, or $30 for 24-hour Joy Pass. Monthly and yearly options starting at $50 are also available for purchase online.
Each bike comes equipped with a lock. Free helmets that riders can borrow are available for pickup by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Riders must be at least 18 years old.