Alta Bicycle Share manages bike-sharing systems in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, Boston, Toronto, Melbourne, and other cities. The company’s owner explains that “Transportation, Recreation, and Innovation” is the company’s tagline and that in five years, their bikes have been ridden more than 35 million miles on more than 25 million rides. That’s more than a billion calories burned, and with zero fatalities.
New York’s CitiBike—a bikeshare program with significant corporate involvement in a global media center—has quickly become something of an icon. The CitiBike has appeared on The Daily Show (including in Robin Williams’s last interview and the classic Full Pedal Racket episode), frequently shows up in the Wall Street Journal—including as the object of its editorial board’s disdain, and had a cameo in “Sharknado 2.” CitiBike blue was even the official color of Fashion Week last September.
The author wields one of New York City’s iconic CitiBikes.
But what seems like a fast-rising trend is really the result of decades of work by many people, communities, and visionaries who believed that the simple bicycle could be an economic, environmental, and quality-of-life panacea for modern society. Considering the convergence of the sharing economy, solar power, and wireless technologies that enable bike-share stations, it’s now possible to imagine living, working, and playing in our cities more sustainably.
Alta’s multiple offices in great places are populated by young people who are motivated by our mission, who want to spend every day working to make the world a better place. They share the vision I described in my book, “The Third Mode,” that walking, bicycling, and trails are local solutions to the global issues of our time. After 29 years of work that has felt like pushing a rock up a hill, I think we’re finally at the top, ready to enjoy the downhill ride with the wind at our backs.