Photos by Asia Morris.
Today Mayor Robert Garcia helped mark the first anniversary of Long Beach Bike Share during a celebratory event on Retro Row, where a specially branded “Unicorn Bike” was unveiled by city officials and bikeability advocates.
At nearly one year since 10 bike stations and 100 bicycles were installed in downtown Long Beach, users have made more than 33,000 trips on 120 miles of various bike lanes throughout the city.
“The bike share program in the last year has really made sure that people are talking about mobility in a different way,” said Second District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce during the ceremony. “It’s really been a fantastic way to build awareness over mobility, around health, around being active.”
Tony Cruz, the city’s bicycle ambassador, rattled off several statistics, saying, “we’re really just scratching the service with this program.”
Currently, 400 bikes and 60 hubs have been deployed with an additional 140 set to be installed by this summer. Users have ridden a total of 89,933 miles, made a total of 34,090 trips, reduced carbon emissions by 79,305 pounds, burned 3.597 million calories and saved $52,161.
The Unicorn Bike Program, a partnership between CycleHop, the city’s bike share program operator, and Lola’s Mexican Cuisine, was introduced with the unveiling of a specially branded Long Beach Bike Share bike. The program will allow businesses large and small to sponsor a marketing campaign through the bike share system, with Lola’s as the first business and restaurant to hop on board.
Branded with Lola’s colors and sugar skull insignias, the distinctive blue bike share bike was temporarily transformed with hot pink paint. The goal is to add 10 unique bikes to the system by the end of summer, where businesses can offer deals, and show off their unique branding through, essentially, a mobile billboard.
“It’s a very unique way for businesses to sponsor a marketing campaign through our bike share system,” Cruz said. “And this type of program has been going on throughout other bike share systems in cities like Chicago, DC, New York, Portland, and I would say it’s been about 10 years now since the first unicorn bike was released, so we’re really happy to announce our unicorn bike program.”
Regularly posted clues and hints about where the Unicorn bike is located will be shared on Long Beach Bike Share’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #lbunicorn, #lbbikeshare and #ilovelolas. Users sharing photos will also be eligible to win prizes, such as water bottles, sunglasses, free Aquarium of the Pacific and Queen Mary exhibit tickets, as well as Lola’s Mexican Cuisine $100 gift cards.
The Unicorn Bike will be available to ride through May 20.
The Second District, where the Unicorn Program was introduced on East 4th Street and Cherry Avenue, is notorious for its parking issues. Luis Navarro of Lola’s said hopefully their partnership with the bike share program will encourage more users to try out the system.
“[...]We strongly feel that if we can create and make the bike share program a piece of our culture here and really embrace it and make it just part of our natural living, we think that we can not only alleviate the parking, but also get people to move, get people to move around,” Navarro said.
Learn more about Long Beach Bike Share via the website here.
Editor's note: The original version of this article quoted the mayor's statement that more than 26,000 trips had been made. The article was updated on 3/20/17 to reflect the most recent figure.