PeaceHealth Rides, the community bike-sharing program with the distinctive blue bikes, passed its six-month anniversary recently, and organizers say the numbers show it’s been a hit.
During the first six months, the PeaceHealth Rides bikes were used for 121,254 trips to travel more than 147,000 miles, according to the UO’s Department of Parking and Transportation. As of Oct. 19, there were 9,579 members actively using the bicycles.
More than 4,000 of the members are on UO plans, and nine of the top 10 most-used stations are on campus or serve student housing.
Kelsey Moore, the UO Bike Program coordinator, said the number of student riders and the number of trips both surpassed what she expected. Moore said the numbers show the program has been a really good transportation option for Eugene.
“It’s nice to have the option of biking without having ownership, especially for students living in dorms who might not have parking options,” Moore said. “They don’t have to worry about storing and maintaining the bikes.”
Cyclists can pick up and drop off the bikes at 35 stations for one-way trips across the city. The system currently includes 300 bicycles, all equipped with GPS tracking and built-in safety features.
Students, staff and faculty members at the UO get reduced prices, with free 15-minute rides each day or a $5 monthly membership for 60 minutes of riding each day.
PeaceHealth Rides bikes come with fenders, chain guards and waterproof saddles to keep their riders dry, and front and rear lights to keep them visible during the dark winter days.
“Riding your bike is definitely still fun in the winter, and it’s important to have the right gear,” Moore said.
During the second week of winter term, Jan. 14 through 18, the Bike Program, UO Police Department and UO Parking and Transportation are putting on a Bike Appreciation Week and Bike Lights Safety Campaign to give away free bike lights, coffee, reflective gear and information about riding in the winter.
“For me, riding in the winter is a fantastic form of exercise, and a fun way to see what’s happening in the community,” Moore said. “You’re much more connected to the world around you while you’re bike riding.”
Geoffrey Henderson, a junior at UO, has his own bike, but he uses the PeaceHealth bikes about a dozen times per month when it’s more convenient. A few of his friends never learned how to ride bikes, so he’s been teaching them using the stable, thick-tired PeaceHealth bikes.
Sam Miller, also a junior, volunteers for PeaceHealth Rides to keep an eye on the bikes around town, making sure they’re locked on secure bike racks and not left by themselves in the middle of the sidewalk.
“My passion for bikes and alternative transportation fuels that desire to volunteer to help with the program,” Miller said.
He also has his own bike but uses the PeaceHealth Rides bike if he’s walking somewhere and decides to get there a little faster. He likes that he doesn’t have to worry about the bikes because once they’re locked up, the rider is no longer liable for them.
After each ride, the system prompts the rider to fill out a form if anything needs to be fixed or addressed.
“It’s important to me that it’s such an easy platform to interact with,” Miller said.
For more information, contact PeaceHealth Rides at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-214-2212.
—By Emily Hoard, University Communications