Princeton bike sharing program gets special delivery

Bike sharing programs are popping up all over the place — cities, corporations, and universities are all investing in making bikes available to commuters to ease traffic congestion and pollution. With almost all of these services, you can assume that the bikes themselves were delivered by trucks to their respective locations. This past Sunday, though, fourteen Worksman bicycles (based in NYC) were delivered by the most obvious method: cyclist rode the 55 miles from the factory to Princeton University.

You could argue this was a publicity stunt: Princeton purchased 100 bikes from the century-old manufacturer primarily known for “industrial tricycles,” so most arrived on campus by the normal methods. But one of the riders, Sean Gleason, argued that the day-long ride demonstrated the environmental benefits of buying (relatively) locally:  he told the New York TimesCityroom blog “We figured it would be a great way to demonstrate the positives of going with Worksman, our neighbor… We’re not only cutting out overseas shipping, gas and packaging, but we’re getting rid of shipping altogether.”

For Worksman, the ride demonstrated a shift in business strategy. Founded in 1898, the company has manufactured heavy-duty bicycles and tricycles for use in industrial settings. That line of business has fallen off in recent years, so the company latched on to bike sharing. In addition to Princeton, Worksman counts the University of Colorado at Boulder as a customer.

Stunt or not, it’s encouraging to see the growth of bike sharing on campus and elsewhere. If you use such a program, let us know how it works for you…

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