Bike commuting gets a push in San Jose…

Posted on December 28, 2009 by


A timely gift to Silicon Valley residents this year. The Valley Transit Authority received a grant to get the Bay Areas first bike share program going at 3 major Caltrain stations. Beginning in March you can hop off the train at San José’s Diridon, downtown Palo Alto or Mountain View stations and pick up a bike to get you where you need to go.

Starting off slow with 100 bikes among the three stations, the program kicks off in March 2010. If all goes well the program would, presumably, be expanded.  Cycling enthusiast and San José city councilmember, Sam Liccardo, cites cyclists not being bounced because the bike car is filled as one beneficial side effect. Silicon Valley is joining bike share communities around the world and will be the first in the Bay Area with a share program.

Paris holds the record for biggest bike share program with over 21,000 bicycles, 170,000 willing participants and a whopping 50,000 to 150,000 trips per day. The program, Vélib’, is available to residents and visitors alike making carrying your cycle-tude easier when you travel.


Copenhagen boasts the first bike share program, Bycyklen – or The City Bike, started in 1995. When President Bill Clinton visited Copenhagen he received a specially designed bike called “City Bike One” for his visit.

Klaus Bondam, Copenhagen’s Mayor of the Technical and Environmental Administration kicked off an international competition for Bycyklen 3.0 earlier in 2009.  The goals of the competition included creating a share system inviting and accessible to visitors from outside Copenhagen, ready integration into an existing city and the abilty to be robust as well as elegant, unique and attractive.  With 127 entries from 5 continents, the jury had its work cut out to determine the winner.

Spain boasts Onroll with a text messaging system in place for picking up or dropping off bikes. Philadelphia has a bike share program in the works and New York had a demonstration share program during the Summer of 2008.  New York cyclists received another boost when they were allowed to bring bikes into freight elevators to get home or to work.

Across the United States there are bike share programs in place with varying degrees of success.  The next time you travel check out the International Bicycle Fund to see if there is a bike share program available.

Bike share is not without its problems. Theft, vandalism and basic idiocy create challenges for any bike share program. Fans around the world ask users respect the bikes and the program.

Let’s celebrate the new year with a promise to ensure the success of Silicon Valley’s bike share program, don’t trash or steal the bikes, enjoy the ride and thank your stars you don’t have to drag your own bike on the train.