NYU's Bike Share Program more than doubled the number of rides available for free use by students, faculty and staff Wednesday, when it added 45 new purple cruisers to its existing 30-bike fleet because of increasing demand.
Jeremy Friedman, the manager of NYU's Sustainability Office, which runs the program, said the initiative is bigger than ever, signing up its 1,000th member in February.
"We've seen biking go from being for a niche community to being something everyone from students to faculty to janitors use in an everyday way," he said.
NYU's bike share program, which was launched in 2008 by students and was taken over the university in 2010, is the only free project of its kind in the city and the only at an urban university anywhere in the country, Friedman said.
The new single-speed bikes from Worksman Cycles' solar-powered factory in Queens are solidly built, unisex and have comfortable seats, Friedman said.
NYU senior Kayla Santosuosso, 21, took a break from attaching baskets, pedals, lights and bells to the bikes in Washington Square Park to talk about her classmates' excitement about the program.
"The bike share is sexy and people love it," she said. "People have been incredibly enthusiastic about the program."
The bikes, which are loaned with helmets and locks, are available for pickup starting at 10 a.m. daily at 10 locations in Greenwich Village, Lower Manhattan, the West Village and Kips Bay.
Riders are required to take a 20-minute training session on safety, hand signals and defensive biking.
The city will experience a sea change toward cycling once Alta Bike Share launches in Manhattan and Brooklyn next summer, Friedman said.
"We're on the cusp of that change where the whole mobility of the city changes."