La Crosse bike share program gears up for second year

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Drift Cycle, a bike share program in La Crosse, is gearing up for its second year.

The team has 50 bikes ready to put at 10 stations around the city, and staffers hope to have the bikes available for use in late April.

The team hopes this program can be an investment in La Crosse’s well-being.

“We’re a beautiful space and we have wonderful geography. Getting around by bike is such an attractive way to be in this community,” said Drift Cycle chairman Jacob Sciammis.

Matthew Christen, who helps with maintenance at Drift Cycle and helped pioneer the concept in 2013, wants people to know that the bikes are for anyone — from tourists to downtown employees.

“They can hop on a bike — they don’t have to worry about parking, worry about locking it,” Christin said. “They get to the destination, it’s done. So that makes it really handy.

“There’s the health benefits, the economic benefits, the environmental benefits,” Christen said. “Overall, it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Sciammis was happy with the program’s performance during its inaugural year last year.

“Despite it being a pilot year, we had over 2,000 rides,” Sciammis said.

This year, efforts will be more locally sourced. The program also expanded in its second year and has brought on two interns: Nora McGuire and Katie Boarini.

Sciammis said the addition of interns made a big difference. McGuire and Boarini agree.

“We’re growing as an organization with interns and positions and stuff, so we’re able to reach more people,” Boarini said.

Drift Cycle’s new bikes will have new decals, personalized to different sponsors. The program also plans to have its own app so riders can access the bikes.

Team members are preparing for what they hope is a busy season: prepping locks, sticking on QR codes and going for test rides in their warehouse.

Sciammis hopes the program can be an investment in La Crosse’s well-being.

“It really affects people’s patterns of behavior. It makes cars drive slower. It makes us all slow down and kind of enjoy La Crosse a lot more,” Sciammis said.

Paving the way for pedestrian and biker-friendly infrastructure.

There will be 10 bike racks throughout the city. Most will be located downtown, but Drift Cycle staff say there will be some at UW-La Crosse’s campus and on Gundersen’s La Crosse campus.

The bikes cost $1 for 30 minutes, but Drift Cycle also plans to offer several membership plans.

You can find out more about Drift Cycle on its Facebook page.