Free Bike Share Debuts on Governors Island

Last Friday marked the first free bike share day on Governors Island, and Streetfilms’ Elizabeth Press was on hand:

Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC), Transportation Alternatives and Bike and Roll have joined forces to create what they are calling New York City’s first sustained bike share program. Every Friday between June 6th and October 4th, Governors Island visitors can rent adult and children’s bikes at no charge. On Saturdays and Sundays bikes can be rented at cost.

Bike share specifics may be found here. And check out this 2007 Streetfilm for a virtual tour of the island.

  • Stacy

    How can this be Bike Share if it only happens once a week?

  • I’m sorry, but I just can’t muster that much excitement for this “bike share” program. I would rather call it a once-a-week “free bike rental” day. It does absolutely nothing to promote cycling as mode of transit–we’re talking about joy rides on a little island!

    When I can pick up a bicycle in SoHo, ride it to Lincoln Center, drop it off and enjoy the opera, then New York will have a real bike share program.

  • paul

    Stacy and Urbanis,

    would one of you please snap your fingers so that we can get a real bike share in NYC? if that doesn’t work, then throw your support behind this, which could very well be an important step in that direction.

  • Hi Paul, I agree the program’s a nice step. I will even make a trip out to Governors Island to enjoy it. But I’m not convinced it’s realistic enough to even be a proof of concept for a bike share, since no one would use these bikes in their current context to run errands. I’m wary that city officials would claim “yes, we have a bike share program!” and think nothing else needed to be done.

  • BTW, is anyone else not seeing the video show up here? I had to go over to Streetfilms to watch it.

  • @alex

    Governor’s Island itself is only open to the public on summer weekends – the bikes are free (for an hour) on Fridays, but can be rented ($5-$15) for a longer time, or on Saturday or Sunday as well. Given that there’s only one way on or off the island (by ferry, unless you have an amphibious bicycle) and only one pick-up/drop-off spot, it’s basically just a bike rental program with a clever promotion.

    It’s still a great idea, and bikes make perfect sense for the island – hopefully this will be continued as development of the island proceeds, and when it is (eventually) open to the public at all times, there will continue to be a bike share or rental service.

  • Hey All,

    I agree whole-heartedly that this is not a bike share in any traditional sense. But I disagree that it will do anything to discourage the implementation of a large-scale program in NYC.

    In the Streetfilm, Leslie Koch nicely summarizes the connection it DOES have to bike share, which is simply to draw attention to the broad-based interest in public bikes in NYC, signaling one more time to City Hall that New Yorkers like bikes and that they have a great deal of potential to be better integrated into the transportation network in NYC.

    Other things to know:

    1)Transportation Alternatives is convening a NYC Bike Share Working Group that will serve as a way for folks who are interested in a bike share program to collaborate and combine resources. This group, similarly to the NYC Bicycle Coalition, will then present a united front to City Hall on this issue. I hear from literally hundreds of people who want to make a bike share happen in NYC, and the key is to bring these parties together to make this happen.

    2)In July the Forum for Urban Design will be holding it’s second annual 5 day bike share demo. On the evening of July 14th there will be an event at City Bakery in Manhattan that brings together City Agencies, elected officials and citizens to discuss strategies for making bike share a reality in NYC.

    3)This fall, students at NYU are launching a small, campus-wide bike share program. It needs volunteers and support to help it grow.

    If you have an interest in plugging into any of the issues I have mentioned, please don’t hesitate to get in touch:

    No matter what, I urge you to write a letter to Mayor Bloomberg asking that he implement a citywide public bike share program before he leaves office. CC a copy to Commissioner Sadik-Khan.

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg
    City Hall
    New York, NY 10007

    Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan
    NYC Department of Transportation
    40 Worth Street
    New York, NY 10013

  • I was intrigued by the amphibious bicycle concept mentioned in #6. Here’s what a quick Web search revealed:

  • Andy B from Jersey

    I’m no tech wizard but the video cut out at 2:24 after repeated attempts. I’ll just got to StreetFilms to get the last 10 seconds.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    It died there at the same time as well.

  • Obviously this is not Velib, but it may be a precursor to a Velib-type program in NYC and helps promote bicycling in other ways as well. Assuming this pilot program works without major problems in terms of stolen or damaged equipment or liability for sponsors, two of the prime arguments that Velib in NYC is unworkable will be (at least in part) debunked. In any event, the program provides a opportunity for NYers who have not biked for years, or ever, to give it a try for free in a car free environment. We’ll have to see how many people use the program, but my guess is it will get a substantial number of people biking who otherwise might not have.

  • Urbanis,
    I’ve been contemplating bimodal bike/boat approaches. What I’d like to see is a folding/inflatable kayak satisfying two criteria: (a) Folded dimensions close to those of my folding bike (around 22″x22″x10″) so that I can use the same bag for both, and (b) folding/unfolding times close to those of the bike, ideally under one minute. I’ve seen a few kayaks that pack up nice and small, but nothing seems to unfold/inflate fast enough for my taste. The Shuttle Bike you mention looks way cool but seems to take ten minutes to set up, too long to be viable on a commute, alas.

    (I’m rationalizing this post by telling myself that we’re talking about biking on an island here, so this is almost on topic…)

  • Has anyone checked out this truly free bike share program that the Downtown Alliance runs? Its at

    Happy biking!

  • andrea30

    In today’s complex and always changing high stress world, one simple constant remains the same… Everyone Loves Fun! Our local western Pennsylvania business began with the desire to provide safe and active fun to elementary and middle schools with a few inflatables. With little advertising and relying on the referral of customers who were pleased with our services, inflatable rental pittsburgh has grown into an entertainment company that has become the region’s event leader.


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