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    CityRyde – Philadelphia Bike Sharing Experts

    Through my Zipcar Low Car Diet experience, I met & connected with Jason Meinzer, COO & co-founder of Philadelphia-based CityRyde – the world’s largest bike sharing consultancy.

    Europe has been using bike sharing programs for a while, and the US is rapidly catching on.   Although Jason & co-founder/CEO Timothy Ericson saw the potential and began with the intention to be a bike sharing company, their focus shifted to consulting. CityRyde specializes in assisting bike sharing companies in the stages of planning to implementation, helping over 40 customers & 100+ companies since 2007.

    What is Bike Share?

    Similar to Philly Car Share or Zipcar, bike sharing programs allow you to rent bikes for increments of time. Inexpensive membership (annual memberships cost less than a tank of gas) combined with an hourly charge (for example, bike usage is free for the first half hour, but increases the longer you ride, encouraging you to return it to the next station) make the programs very cost-effective for the users.

    Philadelphia universities Temple, Drexel, UPenn, and La Salle all have programs, with Drexel leading the pack as most advanced and well-known locally. Unfortunately, bike sharing programs won’t be getting to the Philly public for at least another year.  Although the city passed a ‘feasibility’ study which concluded bike sharing would work in Philly, there’s a few obstacles – For example, planning stations approximately every other block.  So how can we bring a program to Philly? Increasing awareness is key – The more Philadelphians know and support, the sooner we’ll see a program.

    About CityRyde

    Jason’s enthusiasm & knowledge of bike sharing programs is quite impressive – It’s no doubt that CityRyde are experts in their field. They’ve developed a few software applications for bike sharing innovators.  CityRyde Spark is a software application to manage a bike sharing program, with clients including universities (including University of Chicago), mom & pop shops, and private institutions for employees.  CityRyde’s Inspire software turns bike shares into cash through carbon credits.

    CityRyde recently created a mobile application, Ride off Carbon, that enables bike & walking commuters to accurately track (via real-time GPS) their carbon reductions by avoiding fossil-fuel transportation.  With a database of over 21,000 cars, commuters enter their make & model and know precisely how much carbon they saved. With over 25% of greenhouse emissions worldwide stemming from transportation, it’s crucial for commuters to recognize & reduce carbon footprints. As Jason explained, “The app allows people to track their carbon reductions at a micro level.”

    The app is currently exclusively on Android phones and will have additions soon including tracking on public transit, real-time maps of where friends are biking, integration with the company’s Inspire software platform and versions for iPhone and BlackBerries.

    Are you a biking commuter and want to sample the app?  CityRyde is looking for beta testers to provide constructive feedback. Apply at rideoffcarbon.com, or contact Nick Stocker (215.475.5224 x210 or nick@cityryde.com)

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    Julie Hancher

    About Julie Hancher

    Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake.

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