In this 2019 file photo, participants of Beach Streets are using Long Beach Bike Share bikes. Photo by Asia Morris.
Pedal Movement staff assisting with Long Beach Bike Share bicycles. Courtesy Brianna Flores.

Long Beach-based Pedal Movement, operator of the Bikestation facility in Downtown, was awarded the contract to operate and maintain Long Beach Bike Share, the company announced Tuesday, Jan. 23. Pedal Movement will work with the city to “expand the bike share program to all parts of Long Beach and make significant improvements to operations.”

Launched in 2016, the bike share program was initially operated by CycleHop but the city chose to go in a different direction after about a year and a half, feeling the need to have more unilateral control over the program. Since August 2017, the city has owned and operated the program with the assistance of Pedal Movement’s maintenance services.

The company, whose 10 part-time and full-time staff includes members of the local bicycling community, won the bid in September 2018 to officially take on operations. The contract is for two years, with the city having the option to renew for three additional one-year periods.

Contract requirements requested by the city included increasing the program’s level of service and number of staff, according to Pedal Movement.

“Pedal Movement is excited to take the reins and use our local connections and expertise to make Long Beach Bike Share a world-class bike share program that serves all people equitably,” said Pedal Movement CEO John Tully in a statement. “We are bicyclists and residents of the city and are committed to making the bike share program a part of the everyday transportation network in Long Beach.”

Since 2016, more than 30,000 members have taken nearly 200,000 trips by bike share. The program currently runs 24 hours a day with 400 bicycles. However, while there are 60 stations installed throughout the city, most of them are concentrated in the Downtown area stretching toward Naples and up to Cal State Long Beach.

The station farthest north from the Downtown area is on Pacific Coast Highway and Orange Avenue, leaving much to be desired when it comes to engaging all of the city’s residents with this particular bike-ability initiative.

“Long Beach Bike Share will expand from 400 to 1000 bikes in the coming year or so, which will most crucially bring service to areas of the city that have been underserved for the previous three years the program has been in existence,” said Pedal Movement’s Nick Russo in an email.

Those areas include North Long Beach, Wrigley, Bixby Knolls—Districts 5, 7, 8 and 9—as well as the Westside, which includes Districts 1 and 7. A number of bicycling infrastructure projects have already been implemented or are in the process of being laid out in these areas by the Department of Public Works, he added.

[easy-image-collage id=999935736]

Pedal Movement plans to partner with the department’s Mobility Team, as well as council offices, community groups, businesses and company contacts in those communities to engage residents when rolling out the new stations and bikes.

“The program is going well but the program needs to be expanded and promoted,” said Public Works Executive Assistant Jennifer Carey in an email. “We have been doing a good job maintaining the current system but the new contract will allow the city to do an even better program and provide more to the program members when the program expands.”

Typical operations of a successful bike share program include moving the bicycles to and from locations based on usage, maintaining and repairing the bikes and their systems, promoting and critically evaluating the program and taking community input.

“All of these components will be managed by either Pedal Movement, the City of Long Beach, or both in cooperation,” Russo said.

Pedal Movement was formed as a grassroots group in 2008 and was incorporated in 2016. The company runs Moonlight Mash, a monthly community bike ride attended by hundreds, has helped organize major events including Beach Streets, and provides bike valet parking and bike repair for a range of events year-round, all with the mission to encourage Long Beach residents to use active transportation.

The company plans to expand their current services alongside the new contract. New positions will be posted in the near future.

“We strongly encourage people who are already working in the bicycle industry, as well as those who are not and would like to learn more, to apply,” Russo said.

Pedal Movement encourages women, people of color, people with disabilities and the LGBTQ community to apply to said positions, as these groups are underrepresented in the industry, he added.

To learn more about Pedal Movement, visit the website here. For more information about Long Beach Bike Share, click here.

Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her @hugelandmass on Twitter and Instagram and at [email protected].