To Bike or Not To Bike: A Cruise-or-Lose Analysis

August 26 2008, 1:42 PM

Humana and Bikes Belong have teamed up to bring 1,000 bikes to Denver that people can check out like library book during the conventions. The bike-share program, Freewheelin, is tracking the miles that borrowers cover. New Belgium Brewing has another 30 cruisers that it's lending out, too (the station is next to the Big Tent near 15th and Wynkoop).

But how easy is life for cyclists this week? After a day on a bike seat, here are a few cruising and losing points for riding around LoDo during the convention:

Cruise: Freewheelin has seven stations spaced around downtown where folks can check out and return bikes very easily.

Lose: Rental bikes have to be returned by seven in the evening, which inhibits giving a late-night handlebar ride to a campaign staffer or delegate.

Cruise: There is (almost) no such thing as a one-way street or a road closure for bikes.

Lose: Bikes aren't allowed near the Pepsi Center or Invesco Field for security reasons.

Cruise: Biking might be the most consistent and quickest way to get between events around LoDo.

Lose: The ebb and flow of crowds on the streets makes biking a little tricky at times, unless the cyclist is willing to pedal through throngs of protesters.

Cruise: A ten-minute ride around LoDo offers a great snapshot of all the different people and events happening during any hour of the day.

Lose: People that aren't familiar with the city street grid are a serious road hazard. They're also prone to having a hard time remembering which bike is theirs and where they locked it.

Cruise: Riding a bike might be the ultimate expression of a person's environmental awareness, which counts for something at the greenest convention ever.

Lose: Rolling up all sweaty from an uphill ride is a turnoff when trying to approach Darryl Hannah for an interview.

Freewheelin volunteers say the program is rolling smoothly so far. The partners will provide the same service in Minneapolis for the Republican convention next week and leave 70 bikes in both cities to launch permanent bike-share programs.

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