Bus-cycles to help DNC set get around uptown Charlotte

Riders will get exercise on way to uptown stops for snacks, health screenings

msprice@charlotteobserver.comAugust 16, 2012 

PEDAL_BUS

Passengers take a spin in a Freewheelin cycle at The Square in uptown Charlotte Thursday, August 16, 2012. The pedal-driven mini-buses, lent by Humana, are designed to up to nine people at a time to various DNC hot spots, all in the name of healthier living through "communal transportation." TODD SUMLIN - tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com

TODD SUMLIN — tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com

Uptown got its first glimpse of a bus-cycle on Thursday, suggesting Charlotteans might yet get some giggles out of the upcoming Democratic National Convention.

The pedal-driven mini-buses – loaned by the health insurer Humana – are designed to cart six to nine people at a time to various DNC hot spots, all in the name of healthier living through “communal transportation.” Translation: Riders have to pedal to make it move.

Twenty pedal buses with drivers will be loosed on the city Sept. 2-6 and will run afternoon routes from three uptown mini bus stations. It will be free and open to the public, plus all three stations will offer complimentary fruit, water and biometric health screenings such as blood pressure checks.

Sites for the stations and the routes are still being finalized, officials said.

Tampa, home of this month’s Republican National Convention, is also getting 20 of the pedal buses from Humana. It’s part of Freewheelin bike-sharing program, which the health insurer started in 2008 for employees.

Dan Murrey of the DNC host committee took a spin in one of the pedal buses on Thursday and didn’t break a sweat. “When I first heard of it, I had to see it to understand what it was,” Murrey admitted. “But I can see how it is both fun and useful.”

Coincidentally, Charlotte already has a less healthy version of the pedal bus: a 14-seat “Party Pedaler” that lets you bring booze and snacks along. We’re guessing the delegates who ride that one might not make all their meetings.

Price: 704-358-5245

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