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Q: What happened to the old BCycle bikes?

A: Earlier this summer, Madison’s bicycle share program, run by BCycle, upgraded its fleet to electric bicycles, or e-bikes, retiring the hundreds of red bicycles that had been rented from more than 40 docking stations around the city.

Most of the 350 retired bikes are being donated, BCycle Executive Director Morgan Ramaker said.

“We have been working with several nonprofits to find a second home for the bikes that were still in good condition, which was most of them,” Ramaker said.

Madison BCycle switching to electric bikes
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Some bikes that were at the end of their lives after eight years of use were salvaged for parts before being recycled, Ramaker said.

BCycle operates in dozens of cities from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, but Madison is the first to have its fleet fully converted to e-bikes. The bikes were swapped out June 18, replacing the well-known red bikes with white bikes with a pedal-assisted motor.

The e-bikes, made by Waterloo-based Trek Bicycle, amplify pedaling power but do not self-propel. The assist helps riders reach up to speeds of 17 mph. The assist can also be turned off with the push of a button.

— Shelley K. Mesch

Editor's note: This story has been changed to correct the location of Trek Bicycle's headquarters.

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