Patriot Bikeshare Program Comes to Mason

Posted: October 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm, Last Updated: October 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm

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Text by Beth Pullias; video by Paul King

Tyler Orton, bicycle program manager, demonstrates a new Patriot bike. Photo by Alexis Glenn

With a new automated bikeshare program on the Fairfax Campus, getting around can be faster than opening an app or making a phone call. And as the weather turns colder, speedy travel becomes even more attractive.

Mason now has its very own automated bikeshare program on campus. The 20 bikes, designed by ViaCycle, are available to faculty, staff, students and guests to bike on and off campus. The Patriot Bike Share program has four convenient bike station locations around the Fairfax Campus. The program is supported by the Office of Parking and Transportation and funded through the Patriot Green Fund.

“This is the first automated bikeshare program in the state and one of the first in the country with this type of share program,” explains Tyler Orton, bicycle program manager, recycling specialist and avid biker. “Lots of universities have an option of checking out bikes, but not many have automated systems in place like we do.”

Each Patriot Bikeshare bike can be locked anywhere and can be ridden off campus. The bikes come equipped with three-speed internal gears, coaster brakes and a step-through frame so they are easy to get on and off of.

Tyler Orton discusses how the new bikeshare program works.

Patrons can unlock the bike from one of four bike stations located near the Johnson Center, Starbucks (Northern Neck), Shenandoah Parking Deck and the Quad by Krug Hall.

If you are looking for large bike racks, you won’t find them on campus. ViaCycle aims to eliminate the bike stalls commonly found with larger bike share programs and significantly cut the cost to those who want to bring the program to their area. Bikes will be available at existing bike racks at the four locations mentioned above.

Each bike has a three-light system on its side to indicate its status. A red light indicates the bike is in use by another patron, a yellow light means the bike is locked, and a green light means the bike is available for check-out.

Unlocking a bike is as easy as picking up your cell phone. Register with Patriot Bikeshare and then find a bike from the map online or through the mobile app.

When you find a bike that is available — signified by a green light— text or call the automated system and use the corresponding number to the bike that you want to check out. The bike will unlock and you can remove the security lock and stow it on the back of the bike.

So, how much? The Patriot Bikeshare has two different membership plans: a 12-hour day pass, and a monthly subscription.

The cost of a monthly pass is $6. The first two hours of every trip are free, and it is $0.95 after the two-hour limit and $1 for each additional half-hour.

The daily subscription is $3 for 12 hours of use.

Helmets are not provided by Patriot Bikes but are strongly encouraged.

Bikes are now available for use; and the first 100 people to sign up get their first month free.

Write to Beth Pullias at

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