On the theme of bike sharing, I thought I would share the news of a program developed by the students of North Carolina State University. It's called Wolfwheels, and it was rolled out in the Spring of 2010 for students, faculty, and staff of the university.
It's like many other bike sharing schemes we've seen, however it is tailored specifically to meet the needs of the unique university setting: bikes are rented for a day ($3), weekend ($6), week ($18), or entire semester ($150); they are maintenanced on campus with the students' help (providing for some practical education); and, they can be rented in groups by dorms, clubs, or other campus groups to coordinate group rides, social events, or field trips.
When I spoke with Timur Ender, one of the program's student founders, he told me that only one bike and one wheel had been stolen since the program's inception in late March of this year. As he says, "pretty small hiccup if you look at the grand picture." In order insure against theft, the check out of bikes is linked with your campus ID card, so if it is not returned, you can be held (financially) responsible. However, due to this security feature, bikes are currently unavailable to guests of the university -- a clear opportunity for improvement in my view, especially seeing as though universities are home to incredible amounts of guests every year.
Though this program is not yet engaging with social media or other technological facets of bike sharing, I wanted to share it as inspiration to other university students or small communities where a similar program could work. As Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has."