WE-cycle back in Aspen and expanding service throughout Roaring Fork Valley | AspenTimes.com

WE-cycle back in Aspen and expanding service throughout Roaring Fork Valley

Enjoying a day with WE-Cycle bicycles.
File Photo / WE-Cycle

Bicycles and ebikes are being dispersed this week throughout the Roaring Fork Valley by WE-cycle, in its 11th year serving the Roaring Fork Valley. Spring and spokes have sprung.

WE-cycle is a not-for-profit organization funded through a public/private partnership. The program launched in Aspen in 2013 with 13 stations and 100 bikes. 

Through the program, users can access the bicycles for free for rides under 30 minutes, every time and at every location. After 30 minutes, late fees are charged for each minute at 50 cents a minute for pedal bikes and $5 a minute for e-bikes. 

The pricing structure is designed to encourage short, transit-oriented trips and to discourage longer, recreational rides. WE-cycle is not a bike rental service. 

“Regionally, WE-cycle will grow to over 80 stations and 420 bikes/e-bikes this summer. This expansion represents a 43 percent growth in number of stations, and a 66 percent growth in number of bikes. Starting this summer we will be serving a new community: Carbondale,” said Mirte Mallory, WE-cycle’s founding executive director.

Aspen’s system will have 31 stations this season, five more than in 2022 (19% growth), with a total of 172 bikes, including 25 new e-bikes. WE-cycle is enthused about service expansion to Burlingame and Buttermilk BRT downvalley and east of Aspen toward the Beaumont housing. See the real-time system map: http://www.we-cycle.org/find-a-bike/ 

The Snowmass Village system, offering bike transit service between the Club Commons housing and the Town Park rodeo lot, will resume with two stations and 15 pedal bikes. 

The midvalley system will have 30 stations this year, including 153 bikes with 32 new e-bikes, and four new stations (15% growth), thereby expanded service area to Blue Lake, El Jebel, Aspen Junction and Basalt High School. 

New this year, the midvalley system opened earlier than ever in March and will remain open through November. This is the eighth year of bikeshare in the midvalley. 

“RFTA is now WE-cycle’s primary funder with additional investment from local jurisdictions and private sponsorships,” Mallory said. “This is a tremendous demonstration of regional alignment, collaboration and investment. As a valley, we share the challenges of congestion on roadways, increased costs of living, and a constrained workforce housing supply.”

Anyone up for a wildflower ride?
Photo courtesy of WE-cycle.

To serve a younger demographic with bikeshare, the minimum rider age has been lowered from 16 years of age to 14 with consent from a parent or legal guardian. All riders must sign the WE-cycle user agreement, liability waiver and release and have a valid credit card on file to ride. 

The idea behind the bikesharing is to provide an opportunity to replace vehicle trips for emission-free commuting and errands and to have a faster way to travel if a distance is too far to walk. 

“This is a tangible solution to reducing traffic congestion and transportation-generated carbon emissions.” said Mallory.

Dan Blankenship, CEO of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, said, “An objective of RFTA’s strategic plan is to provide increased first- and last-mile options for customers throughout the service area. Within the next few years, thanks to WE-cycle’s hard work, innovation, and experience, passengers will be able to ride WE-cycle on the first- and last-mile legs of their trips to/from RFTA Bus Rapid Transit stations throughout the Highway 82 corridor, as well as to and from bus stops within Snowmass Village.”

The 17 WE-cycle stations will be located around town to offer bike transit services to neighborhoods with no bus services, at the RFTA Park & Ride, at commercial nodes and in the heart of downtown. 

The Carbondale system is anticipated to be the first in the Roaring Fork Valley to operate year-round, weather dependent. 

A WE-cycle ride.
File photo courtesy of WE-cycle

 Facts for Fun

2022 marked WE-cycle’s 10th year of service and the highest ridership to date. 

  • 91,709 rides system-wide
  • 80% increase over 2021
  • 40% increase over 2018
  • 23,282 rides in Mid-Valley system 
  • 114% increase over 2021
  • 50% of rides on e-bikes and e-bikes represent 19% of fleet
  • 7,279 unique riders
  • 9 min – average ride time
  • 98% of rides were under 30 minutes, reinforcing that WE-cycles are used for short transit-oriented trips. 

What is the most used WE-cycle station?

  • System wide: Hopkins Ave | Mill Street
  • Mid-Valley: Basalt Upvalley and Downvalley BRT
  • Regionally, 47% of WE-cyclers said they use WE-cycle to connect to or from RFTA (per the 2022 Rider Survey). 22% of all checkouts and 21% of all returns took place at a BRT station. This pattern of use was the most prevalent in the Mid-Valley, where…
  • 28% of rides began at a BRT station.
  • 29% of rides ended at a BRT station.
  • 3 of the top 5 busiest stations were located at BRT stops.