CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Holy smokes! Holy Spokes has launched. It's Charleston's first bike share program.
There are 250 bikes Charleston residents and visitors have access to at 27 corrals placed throughout the peninsula.
The bikes are the nation's smartest. They're loaded with GPS technology that allows users to locate and activate the bikes through a smartphone or computer.
"You can walk right up to the bike, you enter your account code, followed by your pin number and it triggers the yellow u-bar to unlock," Katie Sargeant, The Gotcha Group's Director, said. "It's GPS enabled. So after you type in your information, we know who is on what bike and where you're going. As soon as the bike is locked, it pings the network and we can see the GPS location of the bike. We can track it while it's actually in motion as well."
The integrated technology and flashing safety lights are powered through a built-in solar panel and dynamo hub, giving riders real-time data from each bike ride, such as calories burned, CO2 emissions reduced and money saved versus driving.
The GPS technology also is helping the city on a much larger scale.
"We've been waiting to get the bike share program launched because we're going to use the data that comes in from the GPS coordinates as to where everyone is riding their bikes to help us define that plan," Mayor John Tecklenburg said.
Officials say no money for the bike-sharing program is coming from taxpayer dollars and the city is not receiving revenue from it.
"This is a great day for the residents and visitors who explore or work on our historic downtown peninsula," Sean Flood, CEO of The Gotcha Group, said. "People can now easily access bikes for use during their lunch break, getting to and from work, or just exploring the beautiful sights the Charleston peninsula offers.
The Gotcha Group is headquartered in Charleston.
"This is a true, local partnership. It was locally brewed, locally born and locally operated," Councilman Michael Seekings said at Tuesday's launch.
The goal is, in one year, for riders to collectively burn 1,000,000 calories.
MUSC Health is a title partner.
"We are enthusiastic about this partnership to bring Holy Spokes to Charleston," Patrick Cawley, CEO of MUSC Health, said. "Promoting health is something we take very seriously and now our entire community will have 24/7 access to these bikes."
The service is expected to inspire healthy exercise and relieve some of the city's parking and traffic pressures.
People may rent bikes for $8 per hour, or use monthly or annual memberships. Memberships cost $15 per month with 30 minutes of free ride time daily or $69 per year with one hour of free ride time daily. Unused time does not transfer over.
The only other bike-sharing service in Charleston is called Affordabike.
" We are still going about business as usual and doing operations in town with hotels and things like that," owner Daniel Einhorn said. "We are improving user experience and looking for more locations."
Tecklenburg urged bikers to follow the rules of the road. And for drivers to be aware of the bikers as well.
Click here to visit the Charleston Bike Share website.