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Bike share initiative takes on new name, fleet and branding
Charlotte Joy Rides goes state of art
Published Wednesday, October 7, 2020 11:00 am
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Georgie Nakima’s design adorns the new fleet of e-assist bicycles at Charlotte Joy Rides, formerly Charlotte B-cycle.

The South’s first bike-share system has a new name and look.

Charlotte B-cycle rebranded as Charlotte Joy Rides, which has been here for eight years. It began in July 2012 with 20 stations and 200 bikes, but the new name is accompanied by a new look and more bikes. Local artists created original work for the e-assist bikes, which can be seen on a fleet of 343 battery-powered e-assist bikes. Four docking stations have also been added.

Charlotte Joy Rides now provide 33 docking stations, with the newest stations at Camp North End, Community Matters Café, Rail Yard and Siegel Point. The bikes and additional stations were funded by a $1.675 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which was secured by the city and matched by local developers. Grant funding is for alternative transportation methods, and would traditionally fund greenways and sidewalks.

“The vision for the bikes is for people to integrate them into their transportation system,” Charlotte Joy Rides Executive Director Dianna Ward said. “With a bike that is an electric bike that gives you an assist, up to 15 miles per hour, you can actually consider replacing your car if you live in an urban environment. We have 33 stations in the urban core. People can consider utilizing them to do their everyday activities.”

The Charlotte artists whose work are featured on the bikes are Sydney Duarte, Sam Guzzie, Marcus Kiser, Georgie Nakima, Nick Napoletano, Owl and Rosalia Torres. Nakima modeled her design after a mural she did in Winston-Salem.

“I used that on the bike, because I felt like it was close to representing the community that Dianna was in,” Nakima said. “Collaborations [between artists and other organizations] have been amplified, which is a really positive thing. It multiplies our impact as a creative city when we see how tangible these projects are when we work together.”

Kiser’s design focuses on Afro-futurism and an opportunity to play with pattern work. He also wanted to pay homage to the work Black women are doing to address environmental injustice, particularly his cousin Tiffany Fant’s nonprofit, SolNation.

“Just playing with some Afro-futuristic patterns, and I put a Black woman’s face on it to speak up for Black women and renewable energy,” said Kiser, who is also creative director for Sol Nation.

As development along the Beatties Ford Road corridor continues, developers continue to show interest in adding stations.

“We have developers over there who have shown interest in adding stations because they are building more urban-centric developments where more people are going to be walking and riding bikes. They’ve looked at ways of reducing parking and adding bike-share as an option.”

Charlotte Joy Rides, once completely adapted, will be the South’s only system of e-assist bikes and one of two systems nationally.

Pricing options range from $5 for 30 minutes, known as the Flash Pass, to monthly and annual memberships ($50 per month and $150 per year). An all-day pass, the Joy Pass, is $30, and docking is not required during the 24-hour period. Passes will also be available on an as-needed basis to those who cannot afford the fees.


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