A new bike sharing service will be pedalling onto the West Shore in the coming weeks.
As part of a trial period, U-Bicycle will be distributing 50 bicycles in Langford that will run on a beacon system, which allows users to locate the green aluminum-framed bikes at a fixed location and return them to designated stations throughout the municipality.
“It’s definitely a green technology that will promote people using multi-modal transportation, so using their cars sometimes but also using bikes and other things as part of a mixed lifestyle,” said Raviv Litman, operations manager for Victoria. “It is also going to help people have an active lifestyle … We see Langford as another great community to expand into.”
To start, there will be stations at the Belmont properties residences on Division Avenue, near Glen Lake and Westhills Stadium, one at Westhills park, as well as one near the Danbrook One Tower on Claude Road in the downtown core.
If all goes well, the company will expand to Colwood. It is currently in talks to bring the service to Royal Roads.
In September, the Chinese company chose Victoria for its first North American location, distributing a little more than 100 bikes throughout the municipality, and expanding to Saanich earlier this year.
Ridership is booming in Victoria with people from 18 to 80 years old using the bikes to commute, for recreational purposes or as tourists, said Litman, noting the bikes are in such high demand that the company has since added bikes, bringing its fleet to more than 450.
Langford councillor and avid cyclist Lillian Spzak said in recent years the City has worked hard to create a cycling network with trail systems and bike lanes on major roads, which makes it the perfect place for the company to expand.
“It’s a perfect fit for Langford because of all of our bike trails that we have,” she said, adding the bicycles also include on board locking mechanisms and lockable helmets.
“It adds another choice for cyclists in the community and for how people can get around in the community. There are bicycles you can rent at City Centre Park and this is another option for people. We think it’s a good system … I think our residents are going to enjoy it.”
For more information on U-Bicycle visit ubike.cn/en.