Bike-sharing program hailed successful after inaugural season - KCTV5

KC's bike-sharing program hailed successful after inaugural season

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The first season of Kansas City's bike-sharing program is wrapping up, and organizers are calling it a resounding success. Now the program is about to get bigger.

From a garage full of volunteers braving the summer heat to the ceremonial first ride, it has been a long trek for supporters of B-cycle, BikeWalkKC's new bike sharing system in downtown.

BikeWalkKC started bike sharing to elevate the profile of bicycling in Kansas City and be a catalyst for more bike lanes, trails and other facilities - benefiting everyone who rides a bike.

Ninety bicycles came rolling into downtown last July to inaugurate B-cycle, a program designed to give people more convenient opportunities to get physical activity while reducing automobile pollution.

Sarah Shipley said convincing a skeptical public to give the bicycle rental program a try was the steepest hill to climb.

But she says all that changed as users got to check out the bicycles available at 12 different rental stations for themselves.

"It was a fantastic first season. We got all the kinks out, even though we started in the hottest summer ever it was a fantastic season," Shipley said.

Shipley and her team knew they had to be up and cycling in time for the Major League Baseball All-Star break and the national exposure that came with it.  So they asked city leaders for some help.

"The city was very helpful letting us use property, helping us with permits and making it work on our very compacted timeline," she said.

Organizers said renters biked 17,000 miles and burned 685,000 calories.

B-cycle now has even bigger plans, hoping to add rental stations to the County Club Plaza and the University of Missouri-Kansas campus by next year.  Eventually they hope to have 40 stations handling 200 bikes zipping all across the metro area.

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