Guadalajara Creates an Affordable, New Style of Bike Share

A Bikla Bike Share Station with a bike map and cycling directions. ©Ryan H.

In Guadalajara, a group of bicycle activists called Bicipublica have created a completely new form of bike sharing system. They were inspired by Velib in Paris and Bixi in Montreal, but in Guadalajara, there was little political support for creating a municipal bike share system. Instead they funded their own system by selling bike racks called “Cycle Ports” to local businesses. Their system is much more affordable and easier to implement than existing bike share models. The cycle activists use the resources of existing businesses to check bikes in and out to bike share members. This economical and innovative approach to bike sharing is a model that these Guadalajara cycle activists believe can be copied all over the world.

The Guadalajara system is called Bikla and is different from all other common modern bike sharing systems. The Bikla system does not rely on government subsidies, advertising contracts, or GPS & SIM card tracking devices. Bikla relies on members & existing businesses that want to promote cycling and their location.

The Bikla bike share system works very simply. People purchase a membership for around $15 USD a year. They are given a Bikla ID card that lists the 21 bike share stations and their hours of operation. Each of the participating businesses is required by Bikla to have internet access and a Cycle Port or “staple” style bike racks. These businesses are cafes, restaurants, bookstores, etc. throughout central Guadalajara. When a Bikla member arrives at one of these businesses to check out a bike, the staff logs onto the Bikla website & enters the members ID number. The member is assigned one of the bikes that are locked up outside and the staff of the business gives them the corresponding key. When the Bikla member is done with the bike, they can return it to any of the participating businesses, lock to the Cycle Port, and have the business staff log the return of the bike and deduct “Bike Time” from the user’s card. Continue reading

Guadalajara Activists use Business to Fund & Promote Cycling

This Ciclo Puerto was built by Bicipublica and is designed for 6 bikes to fit in the space of one car parking spot. ©Ryan H.

When cycling activists in Guadalajara, Mexico were frustrated with the lack of bike parking in their city, they decided to build it themselves! A group of Cycling activists in Guadalajara, Mexico called Bicipublica have taken an innovative approach to the lack of cycling infrastructure in their city. These cyclists decided to start an enterprise building bike racks and selling them to local businesses. A win-win situation for the community, Guadalajara now has 230 “Ciclo Puertos” or ‘Cycle Ports’ at businesses throughout the city and the sales of the racks help fund the activists and their cycling ambitions.

We met with Mario Delgado Padilla and Sra. Itcell Islas, respectively the director and graphic designer for Bicipublica. Their organization was started from a group of Industrial Designers that would commute by bike. These designers were interested in issues regarding mobility and urban design. At their workplaces, there was no bike parking and they began to devise ideas to create efficient bike parking. Mario Padilla told us how, “Our idea was to design bike racks that were capable of fitting as many bicycles as possible in the space of one automobile.”

“Initially, our plans were without political support from the government, so we designed bike parking to sell to private businesses.” They designed a very odd looking, but efficiently designed rack that held each bike at a different height. This allowed more bicycles to be parked, by having the handlebars of each bike at a different level. Each of the Cilco Puertos could hold six bikes in a former car parking space.

Bicipublica successfully marketed, sold, and installed these Cycle Ports to private businesses around the city. Each Ciclo Puerto has a sign printed with the logo of the business, a bike map, and cycling route finding for the area around each business. Because of the City Government’s failure to envision other modes of transit, it was up to individual businesses to install infrastructure to attract customers traveling by cycle. Bicipublica filled this void and has installed 230 of these cycle ports throughout Guadalajara. Continue reading