Ask urbanists and city planners to conjure cities they associate with places like Dublin, Paris, Montreal and Portland. We're willing to bet Atlanta is not in their Top 20. But thanks to a group of Georgia Tech grads and their nascent business, Atlanta is ascending to the ranks of cities with a bike-sharing program. Though viaCycle will initially be available only to Tech students as part of a kind of pilot program, the technology behind it seems to solve many of the problems that have plagued unsuccessful bike sharing programs to date. The same sophisticated computer that runs the bike's locking function will also track the bikes and count the calories you burn while riding them, among other things. As pointed out in the lively comments section of the Creative Loafing piece, there are tremendous possibilities inherent in this technology. The question remains whether it will actually compel a few Atlantans to ease back on their car habit the seven months of the year it's actually viable to ride a bike anywhere but the gym or a swimming pool.
· viaCycle [official site]
· Georgia Tech, meet viaCycle, your new bike-sharing program [Creative Loafing]