Prior to January 2019, I used B-Cycle very sparingly. To me, it seemed like a primitive ancestor of Lime, Bird, and other ridesharing services that have popped up under the scooter pilot program. When the 5280 Program was announced, I applied and was able to get free B-Cycle rides for the year. After doing the program for a little over half a year, it has both confirmed some assumptions that I had about the B-Cycle program and broken down a few too. This article will detail my experience with B-Cycle, including general availability, quality of bikes, and customer service experience—giving simple letter grades for each category.
I am a relatively new adopter of B-Cycle, having only 64 rides under my belt. More experienced riders may have a more informed opinion than me, given how long they have ridden, how service has changed over the years, and how B-Cycle has advanced in their time riding it.
B-Cycle station I use at the corner of 13th and Speer to get to work.
Availability of Docks: When I ride out to the office around 6:30 AM, there are roughly 4–5 B-Cycles available at my station, which is located close to the heavily trafficked King Soopers at 13th and Speer. When I get to my destination at the 15th and Delgany, there are usually about 3–4 places for me to dock my bike. I have never had issues personally finding a dock or a bike at a B-Cycle station, outside of the odd station being impacted at peak hours of the day.
B-Cycle station at 15th and Delgany.
Availability of Stations: B-Cycle is fairly convenient if you are trying to get somewhere within a mile of Denver’s Central Business District, with the farthest north station at 39th Avenue and Fox and farthest south station near the Cherry Creek Mall. The northernmost I ever go when I am on a B-Cycle is usually the 30th Street and Lawrence station in RiNo.
B-Cycle station near the Cherry Creek Mall.
Service Hours: B-Cycle stations are open from 5:00 AM to 12:00 AM midnight, with maintenance being done on the fleet during off hours.
Reliability of Bikes: D+
While it is a fairly large fleet to maintain, B-Cycles feel like clumsy death traps at times. Ripped off bells, shifting that makes one worry of a dropped chain, and seats that can be difficult to adjust at times contribute to being worried if your B-Cycle will make it to its destination. Just the other day, I accidentally checked out a B-Cycle that had a half pumped tire, making it to my destination on pure pedal power.
Customer Service: A-
The one area where B-Cycle as a program shines is its customer service apparatus. When a station was having issues, I called the B-Cycle hotline and they had their IT department reset the station so that I could check out a bike on a wintry day. When I wanted a key fob to check out bikes, they sent me one the day I requested it. The customer service team is superb, and should have their successful model replicated across other departments that Denver B-Cycle has.
My slightly faded B-Cycle fob and my personal ridership statistics.
Were it not for the cost that makes scooters more attractive, I would sign up for the B-Cycle program if they were able to increase their fleet of mechanics that do maintenance on their bikes. Realistically, I will stick with my own bike or the trains for getting around the metro area once I am finished with the program. To be successful post-5280 program, Denver B-Cycle will need to bolster up its fleet of mechanics while trying to find ways of slashing costs if it hopes to survive in the post-scooter landscape.