Sunday, August 31, 2008

Freewheelin commits donations to support Hurricane Gustav victims

Freewheelin to donate $10 for each mile ridden on a freewheelin bike during the Republican National Convention, September 1-4, 2008

It's amazing how fast the world can change. A few days ago, we were riding high on the strength of our fantastic reception in Denver, where freewheelin riders took over 5,500 rides for over 26,000 miles. Today, our eyes have turned to the gulf coast, where Hurricane Gustav is threatening.

Freewheelin is all about doing good . . . for our bodies, our communities and our planet. And now it's about doing good for those who have already been victimized by Gustav - forced to leave their homes and possessions behind as many gulf coast communities are evacuated.

So we're donating $10 for every mile ridden on a freewheelin bike here in Minneapolis/St. Paul during the RNC. If we can ride as many miles here as we did in Denver, that's going to be a lot of help!

Keep watching this space for other ways to participate . . .

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Freewheelin's Triumphant Entry to Minneapolis/St. Paul


Mayor Rybak leads the freewheelin movement into the Twin Cities
Originally uploaded by freewheelinbiker

Mayor R.T. Rybak led a group of 150 bikers into Minneapolis today to celebrate the arrival of freewheelin. There's a friendly competition now underway between the Twin Cities and Denver, which hosted the Democratic National Convention last week.

Back on July 24, 4 US congressmen - Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, James Oberstar of Minnesota, Thomas Petri of Wisconson and Zach Wamp of Tennessee challenged convention delegates to take 10,000 rides covering 25,000 miles . . . a tall order for 8 days! However, Denver rose to the challenge, taking 5,522 rides for 26,493 miles!

That's a high bar to be sure, but Mayor Rybak is seriously committed to bikesharing in the Twin Cities, and will have his citizens ready to roll - literally!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Globe Cartoonist Returns to the Scene



Ward Sutton, the Boston Globe cartoonist who produced our favorite-ever editorial cartoon, visited the Art Museum station again this morning. But this time, he was surprised to see his cartoon blown up and proudly displayed (as it is at ALL of our stations!) Mr. Sutton graciously signed the reproduction, and posed for a picture with the team.
Come back any time, Ward!

The Freewheelin Blog Goes Legit (OK, not really)



Much ado has been made this week about the two-story tent that Google has provided for bloggers at the Democratic National Convention. While 120 bloggers were issued press credentials for access to the convention floor, FAR more than that applied . . . and Google is there to accomodate them. Google's tent at the Alliance Center has become the magnet for new media in Denver. Bloggers with millions of readers are rubbing elbows with those who have dozens . . . but it's still the coolest place to be.

As an amateur in social media, I've had a lot of fun talking to people about what was happening at the Big Tent, as it's lovingly referred to by its denizens. But I never thought that I'd have a chance to enter its hallowed halls (ok, it's a tent - use your imagination). So I was pretty thrilled to have a friend offer me a pass - just for a little while - to go and check things out. I approached the tent with some trepidation, knowing that I didn't really belong there. But the bouncer (there's probably a better word, but they guy reminded me exactly of a bouncer at a club) let me right in.

Right away someone approached me and asked me if I worked for Bikes Belong (I was wearing my Freewheelin shirt). Now I was on the defensive. Was my cover blown? Would I be exposed as a fraud? I told him that I worked for Humana, and he shook my hand eagerly, explaining that he was with an organization called Bike Denver. Bike Denver has been a huge supporter of freewheelin from the beginning, and he just wanted to thank me for bringing the program to Denver. Whew!

When I moved into the tent itself, Google had an area set aside to promote itself, including a YouTube photo booth for bloggers to do instant production and posting of convention videos. But when I entered the real tent, I was pretty surprised at what I saw . . . its pictured above. The only thing this image conjured up for me was a 19th century sweatshop, instead of having sewing machines, the poor souls in these long, uncomfortable rows were hunched over tiny little laptops, blogging away. Kind of amusing that so many people were fighting to get into a place that didn't seem worth getting into! It's all about the cool factor . . .

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Freewheelin Video posted to YouTube



The hits just keep on coming. Fireside Production, a Denver-based production company, showed up unannounced at our Museum station yesterday and asked if they could do some filming. Being shameless publicity hounds, we said, "well, all right - if you must." They did . . . and the results are terrific.

It turns out that there are a lot of people for whom our message about health and sustainability really resonates. If people are wondering what the heck a health company is doing running a bicycle program, send them this video!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

We've been Cartooned!


Image Courtesy of the Boston Globe


This is truly a great day for Freewheelin. Today the Boston Globe published a sensational new cartoon in their Opinion section within the "Drawing Denver" series. Day One, "It Ain't Easy Bein' Green". It certainly isn't easy to be green--but Freewheelin seems to have risen to the occasion in an admirable and newspaper worthy fashion. Their comic is a thank you to us--and we thank you right back Boston Globe, for helping us spread the word on Freewheelin. We'll be around till the end of the DNC and then we're heading up north to the RNC to share our dreams of a greener tomorrow with the Twin Cities. In the meantime, enjoy this example of fantastic, relevant, timely journalism.

Matthew Modine visits Freewheelin



Actor Matthew Modine ("Full Metal Jacket") paid a visit to freewheelin this morning. The well-known actor and activist is in town promoting Bicycle For A Day - a group that "supports organizations that restore and protect our environment and make biking safer and more accessible for everyone." Modine, who was accompanied by a documentary filmmaking crew, spent about an hour at Freewheelin's main station on 14th and Stout. During that time, he went through the bike check-out process, chatted with Humana and Bikes Belong volunteers, and toured Humana's automated CycleStation with Nate Kvamme.
Modine will be using his freewheelin bike to lead a large ride this afternoon in support of Bicycle For A Day . . . and may be joined by other freewheelers. Check our our Flickr photostream for some more great shots.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Platte River Ride


My Platte River Ride
Originally uploaded by freewheelinbiker

I figured that I wouldn't be much of a freewheeler if I didn't take a ride myself. After getting some of the nearby stations up and running with webcams and photo uploads, I headed back to our main station at 14th and Stout.

Grant Harrison had just arrived in Denver, so we decided to go out to Platte and 16th street - the most distant station from downtown (see this map for details - I love this map)..


We rode around the convention center, past the Arts Center and Sculpture Park, down to the Cherry Creek bike path. For those of you who haven't been to Denver, this path is a gorgeous stream that runs through the heart of the city, with a pedestrian path on one side and a bike/rollerblade path on the other.

I had checked out a new Raleigh cruiser to ride, but wasn't comfortable with my inability to shift. So we stopped by the station closest to the Pepsi Center - 14th and Wynkoop (that's pronounced WINEkoop for the novice) and got myself fitted for a Giant 21-speed. SWEET! We continued on, enjoying all of the convention activities around . . . protests, marches, bands playing and people just generally having a good time. Except for the protesters. They seemed as if something was bothering them. [editorial note: I know that people who care enough about an issue to come to Denver and talk about it deserve to be taken seriously. But they do tend to run together after a while]

When we reached Confluence Park, we ramped up out of the bike path and found ourselves in the shadow of the legendary REI building. The park and the bridges crossing it were gorgeous . . . enough so that I stopped for a picture (in spite of the hundreds I've taken today, this may be the only one taken of me!)

A few blocks up, we reached our bikestation at 16th and Platte. We found their systems to be in order, and the webcam was happily broadcasting away. At that point, they'd just gotten a shipment of new freewheelin water bottles - perfect to fill up and take back for the return trip. It's fun riding through the traffic downtown, but Cherry Creek and Confluence Park take the prize as best rides in Denver as far as I'm concerned.

I've spent a lot of time talking to folks who've just gone freewheelin; look for some good podcast materials shortly.
- Greg

The Mayors Ride into Denver


The Mayors Ride into Denver
Originally uploaded by freewheelinbiker

Yesterday morning, the Freewheelin bikesharing program made an auspicious debut. A crowd of about 135 bikers met at freewheelin's warehouse in Denver. Led by Mayor John Hickenlooper of Denver, Mayor R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis, Tim Blumenthal of Bikes Belong and Nate Kvamme of Humana, the procession rode to Sculpture Park, where Mayor Hickenlooper addressed an assembled crowd.
It was a great way to start the week - the bikes were great, the riders were excited, and the mayors couldn't have been more pleased. We're ready to take Denver by storm!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Matt Modine Bike Ride!

We just got word of some celebrity biking action. Read this!


Photo By Dan Avery, Time Out: New York


Actor/activist Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket/Weeds/Birdy) and activist/actor Joy Bryant(Antwone Fisher, Bobby, Get Rich or Die Tryin), will lead a bike ride through the DNC this coming Tuesday. Modine, founder of Bicycle For A Day, "gears" up for the first annual Bicycle For A Day event in NY on September 20th (bicycleforaday.org). While at the DNC, he will ride his bike from even to event to promote sustainability and community.

"Together we will inspire individuals, communities, governments, and corporations to take a step towards solving the current environmental issues. There is no argument that man's impact on the environment has put the world in a delicate balance." - Matthew Modine

Join us on your bicycle to talk about what we can do as individuals to reduce carbon emissions that are contributing to global warming.

Change your world and the world will change!

When: TUESDAY AUG 26th
Meet 2:30 Ride at 3pm

Benedict Fountain Park
Corner of 22nd and Tremont

"My Bicycle Is My Best Friend, It Is My Life" - Matthew Modine

Try to be there!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Check out the NEWS!


Convention Center Station is fully stocked
Originally uploaded by freewheelinbiker


Two major updates for all you freewheelin followers out there. First, PR firm COYNE has set up a very cool summary site for anyone interested in writing about Freewheelin. It has lots of good information, media, and quotes. Check that out here: http://coyneclients.com/humana/freewheelin_smpr/.

Second, and in my opinion of ultimate coolness, the Freewheelin COMMUNITY page is live. This is where you can check out our live video streams from the conventions, our twitter and blog feeds, links to all the rest of our social media, youtube videos, flickr pictures, and more. Very importantly, there is a button near the bottom that takes you to instructions on how to contribute to our goal of envisioning the collective freewheelin experience and sharing that with the world. We want EVERYONE to know how awesome bike sharing can be and you, on the ground, riding the bikes, taking photos and videos, can get us there. Go to http://www.freewheelinwaytogo.com/community for all of this. Thanks!

Friday, August 22, 2008

The "Wrigley Field" Scoreboard


0822081525.jpg
Originally uploaded by freewheelinbiker

Wow . . . freewheelin build is in full swing now. Tony and crew, after working much of the night to get the bikes branded, are now building some of the signature pieces of the freewheelin experience - including the giant, manually operated "Wrigley Field" scoreboard (so called because the famous WF board is ALSO manually operated).
Check out our Flickr group (www.flickr.com/groups/freewheelin) for some terrific pics from the build.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

1,000 Naked bikes


1000 Naked bikes
Originally uploaded by freewheelinbiker

Imagine you walk into a warehouse, and there are a thousand bikes there, waiting to be dressed up in their brand-new, freewheelin finery! Well, that's what some intrepid members of our team are up to right now! Good luck, boys and girls . . . it's going to be a long night!

Freewheelin Begins

Excitement has been building for months . . . and we never imagined when we started this program a year ago with 25 bikes that we'd end up getting so much attention. Today, the first freewheelin volunteers are arriving in Denver to begin setting up for the convention.

Not surprisingly, its logistically challenging to send and assemble 1,000 bikes and 7 complete stations to a city that's about to host a national political convention! But after a lot of long days and sleepless nights, that's what's happening.

My name is Greg, and I'll be blogging live from the conventions. I'll be on the ground taking pictures and videos to share this experience with anyone who's interested. You'll be hearing a lot from me and my friend Naimul over the next few weeks. We hope you enjoy what we have to say. But even if you don't, we want to hear about it - comment away! And don't forget to follow us on Flickr, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, etc!

In a few days all of those feeds, plus live webcams from the convention, will be provided through www.freewheelinwaytogo.com. Right now, the "Freewheelin Community" button on that page points back here, but keep trying; the page will be up soon.
Until then, ride on!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Let the Tchotchke Begin!


Livebikes...
Originally uploaded by freewheelinbiker


What you see here is one of the first examples of our branding on a thing/stuff/goodie. We're giving away tons of free things at the conventions and like this bracelet (designed to look like a bike tire) we're slapping the freewheelin logo on top so that everyone knows we're passionate about bike sharing. We've even got freewheelin USB card readers for people who want to upload videos and pictures from their rides. Its all part of our effort to bring bike sharing to the national level. Come to our stations in Denver and Minneapolis and ride a bike. You'll walk away with much more than a fun biking experience.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Facebook Page

We are go on the Facebook front. In a major step attempting to integrate all branches of social media we're involved in we've developed the idea of the the freewheelin community. For now, the Facebook page will be our hub. Soon enough though, we'll have our own freewheelin community page. The convention is coming up really soon, so please go to our website and pre-register to go on a ride with us. Together we can make more people aware of the rights of cyclists and the benefits of healthy living. Start by joining our Facebook fan page!


Our Public Facebook Fan Page



Our bikes are being built right now...we're getting close to 1000 in Denver. 1000 more are coming to Minneapolis. Photo by Matthew Staver


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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Freewheelin Meets Batman

Check out our new fan video:

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

Blogging!


Welcome to the Freewheelin Blog, your one stop place for Freewheelin new as we venture to the conventions to spread the word on bikesharing.


We're all about bikesharing, so please leave your comments and suggestions on content you'd like to see and how we can better serve cyclists nationwide.


Snow Effect