Over the weekend, the ISWE Brompton, in rockin' Spinal Tap fashion, invaded yet another Bikeshare rack to pretend for a moment it is a rental. Maybe it's looking for a faster rider? This time, it was Milwaukee's BikeShare program. This is their prototype rack at Discovery World. The location is right on the lakefront, adjacent to Santiago Calatrava's famous Milwaukee Art Museum ship/building.
The Milwaukee BikeShare program plans to have up to 30 stations and 250 bicycles up and running in 2014. Milwaukee has chosen the B-Cycle system from Wisconsin-based Trek. This is the same system that ISWE headquarters, Indianapolis is using for its Indiana Pacers BikeShare program. Like Chicago's Divvy bikes, Milwaukee and Indianapolis' steeds feature Brompton-like internally-geared hubs for weather resistance and hub generators for reliable battery-free lighting.
Presumably, Milwaukee will be charging $8 per 24-hour period of "unlimited" 30-minute trips. This is $1 more than Divvy. 30-minute trips means that you need to check in at a station every 30 minutes in order to prevent a $2 charge for taking up to 60 minutes to check in. The Brompton cruised for three hours on the Oak Leaf Trail and downtown Milwaukee streets. That would have cost $8 and required 5 intermediate stops, assuming we could find a rack when we needed one. Lots of math, maps, and head scratching with these BikeShare bikes. Much easier to ride the Brommie for free and bike right into the hotel lobby :)
To be fair, for an alternate opinion on small wheel vs. BikeShare, check out this article.