WE-Cycle in Aspen: In for the short haul
In the Saddle
On Tuesday, I took a bike ride unlike any I’ve done. It was barely longer than an Aspen city block, but it was cool. Here’s why:
My ride occurred on a new WE-Cycle, one of 100 bikes that will become available Thursday at 13 local stations for the public to share. It was a heavy bike, not one that I’d want to haul up Independence Pass, but it’s not designed for distance. It’s a short-haul, around-town cruiser.
After inserting a credit card into a slot at the Rubey Park kiosk, I pushed a few buttons, and the screen showed me a five-digit code. I punched the code into a keypad next to my chosen bicycle, lifted the seat and pulled the bike from the dock.
The whole thing took less than two minutes from the credit card to my first pedal stroke. I tried all three gears and guessed I could probably get up the Lift 1A hill in first gear; third gear would be perfect for a fast trip through the West End.
On this occasion, I rode one block to the Gondola Plaza bike station, which is just outside Gorsuch.
Mirte Mallory, director of the WE-Cycle program, had warned me it takes a good shove to return a bike to the dock. It took me two tries (the second more forceful than the first) before I heard the right “click” and a green light appeared on the dock.
Cool. And with that, I became a bike-share participant.
WE-Cycle launches with a party at Paepcke Park from 4 to 6 p.m. today. On Thursday, the bikes become officially available: One day costs $7, three days costs $15 and seven days costs $25. A season pass, available online at http://www.we-cycle.org, is $50 (a $5 discount) if you do it today.
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The pass will be closed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. east of Aspen from mile marker 59 to marker 62 to all vehicles, bicyclists and hikers.