Bikes Belong Bringing Bikes to National Conventions
May 14, 2008
When delegates, party officials, and the national media convene at the Democratic and Republican national conventions later this year, they’ll be greeted by a revolutionary new offering: free loaner bikes to use during the events.
Bikes Belong, in partnership with leading health insurance provider Humana, is planning to bring 1,000 bicycles to the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 25-28 and another 1,000 bicycles to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, September 1-4. This effort is intended to showcase the bicycle as a healthy, convenient transportation option for short trips. “Nearly forty percent of all trips that Americans make are two miles or less,” said Tim Blumenthal, Bikes Belong’s executive director. “We see the national conventions as prime opportunities to highlight that bicycling is a practical, efficient way to take these trips. Bicycling improves health, enhances air quality, reduces road congestion, and contributes to a higher quality of life.” The pioneering bike-sharing effort complements Humana’s Freewheelin program, which the company debuted in 2007 at its Louisville, Kentucky, headquarters. The program was an instant success, prompting the company to work with Bikes Belong and the bike industry to introduce the concept on a national level. Similar efforts in Europe have proven extremely popular: Paris’ Vélib system includes more than 20,000 bikes, which are checked out 75,000 times each day. “As a health benefits company, we are honored to have a role in introducing Americans to bike-sharing, a concept that has proven that individuals can easily integrate healthy living and environmental conservation into their lives,” said Jonathan Lord, M.D., Humana’s chief innovation officer. During the conventions, bikes will be available for check-out—free of charge—at conveniently located bike stations dispersed around the cities. Those interested in using a bike will be able to register on a Freewheelin website, and use the website to track their mileage, carbon offset, and health information. The leading companies in the U.S. bike industry—all Bikes Belong members—will provide bicycles, helmets, and locks. Bikes Belong, Humana, and the Convention Host Committees will provide staff and volunteers to ensure the program runs smoothly during the conventions. Bikes Belong’s goal is to get convention delegates, officials, media, and local residents to ride bikes during both conventions. Bikes will be perfect for short trips between hotels, convention centers, restaurants, and the convention arenas. Bikes Belong wants to help convention delegates, the media, and the presidential candidates develop a greater appreciation and respect for bicycling in big cities...and beyond. Humana, one of the top five U.S. health care companies, has agreed to sponsor this effort in both cities. Humana is also working to install permanent bike-loan facilities (kiosks, racks, and bikes) in both cities. As a legacy, Humana will leave 70 bikes in each city to start permanent bike-sharing programs.
About Bikes Belong Bikes Belong Coalition is the U.S. bicycle industry organization dedicated to putting more people on bicycles more often. Bikes Belong works to increase federal bike funding, awards grants to support innovative bike projects, promotes bicycling and its benefits, and backs crucial national efforts such as Safe Routes to School, Bicycle Friendly Communities, and the National Bike Summit. The affiliated Bikes Belong Foundation focuses on improving bicycle safety and enhancing children's bike programs.
About Humana Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of then nation’s largest publicly traded health and supplemental benefits companies, with approximately 11.4 million medical members. Humana is a full-service benefits solutions company, offering a wide array of health and supplementary benefit plans for employer groups, government programs, and individuals. Over its 47-year history, Humana has consistently seized opportunities to meet changing customer needs. Today, the company is a leader is consumer engagement, providing guidance that leads to lower costs and a better health plan experience throughout its diversified customer portfolio.