Four years ago, Humana (in partnership with Bikes Belong) introduced bike sharing to the U.S. political conventions with their Freewheelin 2008 program. This year, they are taking it a step further by providing 20 bike buses for both the Republican National Convention in Tampa (Aug. 27th- 30th) and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte (Sept. 3rd – 6th). Each pedal-powered bus will accommodate nine people, including the driver, and will be free to use throughout both conventions.
According to Humana, “the bus-cycles will be spread across three stations in each downtown, with pre-set bus routes. Convention-goers can register quickly with any of the Humana reps on “roaming iPads,” then hop on and off as they choose. Stations will be open each convention day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the Sunday immediately prior from 1 to 7 p.m.”
The buses will provide a healthy and environmentally responsible way to get around at both conventions, and “leaderboards will foster healthy competition between RNC and DNC riders by tracking miles ridden, calories burned and carbon offset, determining which host city is the healthiest.” Sounds like fun, and you can check out the Freewheelin 2012 website for more details as the conventions draw nearer.
I have posted about bike buses in the past, but this new design was created specifically for Freewheelin 2012 by Humana, International Surrey Company, and Euro RSGC Worldwide, and was manufactured in suburban St. Louis by Craftsmen Industries. Personally, I think a fleet of pedal powered pubs would have worked pretty well for the conventions, but perhaps there is a reason that they chose to come up with a new design that does a better job of promoting the idea of “of making healthy things fun and fun things healthy.” Seriously though, I love this idea, and I am very anxious to see how these buses are received by attendees at the conventions (which ties into the conversation about public perception of larger pedal powered vehicles from my previous post). Charlotte is just over an hour away, so hopefully I’ll get a chance next month to check these bike buses out in person… and jump on one for a ride.