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  • Building a Better Boulder B-cycle

    by Kevin Bell | Nov 30,2015

    To everyone who took our System Improvement Survey and to those who came to our Rider Roundtables—Thank you! Based on your feedback, here’s what we’ll be doing (and a bit of what we’ve already done) to make Boulder B-cycle even better in 2016!



    We’re bringing 60 back! We heard you loud and clear on this one—many of you would use Boulder B-cycle more often if you had 60 minutes of free ride time rather than 30. This stems largely from the fact that some destinations are not yet served by B-stations. Furthermore, among non-users of the system, 60% said that they would be more likely to ride if they had more riding time:

     Free Trip Period-01

    Starting January 1st, 2016, we’ll be extending the free trip period to 60 minutes for all Annual Pass holders. Best of all, the $70 price point won’t change for the beginning of 2016.  Keep an eye out in the coming days for more information on all of our new pass options for 2016.

    Buddy Passes

    Many of you asked about getting a free day pass for a friend or family member to ride. The good news is that we’re already doing that! All new Annual and Semester pass purchases include a Buddy Pass. If you’re a current rider and want a Buddy Pass to ride with a friend, just shoot us an email and we’ll hook you up!


    Seat Posts: Some of you expressed concerns about loose seat posts. More good news on that front: You can tighten or loosen a seat post by hand! Every seat post is equipped with a triangular nut that can be finger-tightened when the seat adjustment lever is in the open position.

    Tri Nut

    Pedals: You’ve expressed a strong preference for the new style of pedals that we’ve been installing on bikes, as they are less prone to slipping, especially in wet conditions. Currently, more than 50% of our fleet has these new pedals installed, and we will continue to install these new pedals as bikes come through the shop needing repairs.


    Grips: No more sticky grips! Currently, 75% of the fleet has had its old, sticky grips replaced with an updated ribbed grip. We’ll continue to replace grips as bikes come into the shop.


    Bells: We’re currently testing two new models of bell in the field. Once we have an idea of their durability, we’ll begin the process of replacing all of the bells on our bikes.

    Brakes: A few of you have reported occasionally encountering loose brakes on bikes. We’ll make sure to pay special attention to brake tension in future inspections.


    Balancing: More than half of you reported having run into a full or empty station in the last year. We’ll be working towards improved balancing in two ways in 2016: Increasing station density, and (pending sponsorship) adding a new truck to our fleet with 50% increased carrying capacity, allowing more balancing to be completed in the same amount of time.

    Check-in/check-out issues: This was the second-most commonly-reported problem among all of our survey respondents, just behind balancing. The difficulty of addressing this issue is that there are four possible causes for it:
    1.Station connectivity problems
    2. Failure of electronic components in a dock
    3. Physical jamming of the locking mechanism
    4. User error.
    Unfortunately, cause #4 is by far the most common, so the most important thing you can do is to make sure you’re using plenty of force when docking your bike, and pay attention to whether or not you hear the station beep when the bike clicks into place. As always, please let us know when you encounter a problem so that we can address it right away.

    Station locations: There’s a lot of say about upcoming stations, so we’ll be covering that in a separate post. The most pressing news is that we’re hoping to raise $10,000 to complete our capital campaign for a station at 9th & Pearl.  On Colorado Gives Day, December 8th, 100% of your donation will go towards funding the installation of this station. Learn more here.

    Rider Experience

    Key fobs: There was nearly a dead-even split between those of you who wanted key fobs and those who preferred the current style of RFID card for bike checkouts. For this reason, we’ve put a request in to our software vendor to allow a rider to pick between these two options when signing up for their pass. Once that feature is in place, we’ll make key fobs available for anyone who wants them.

    Key Fob-01

    Bike returned text/email notification: The prevailing opinion on this update was that you liked the idea, but wanted to be able to shut off this notification if it became a nuisance. Our software vendor is currently working on increased customization of notifications, so as soon as that software update is in place, we’ll put this notification in place and give you the option to turn it on or off.



    The official B-cycle app: None of you are still using the official B-cycle app, right? B-cycle Now provides a much better experience, and it’s free! Download it now for iOS or Android.

    Reporting problems in B-cycle Now: Many of you wanted to be able to use B-cycle Now to report problems rather than having to call or email. We’re working on it! We’ve requested a quote from Real, the developer of B-cycle Now, and we’ll keep you posted on progress.

    Report Problem

    That’s all for now—thanks again for your help in making Boulder B-cycle even better. Keep an eye out for information on new pass types and new stations coming soon!

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