Starting in May, riders will be able to tune in to select stations on their bike share commute to work or around town at no extra charge.
Following a six-month test program in Madison, Houston, and Denver, SiriusXM and B-cycle developed a radio station package tailored specifically to the bike share experience. They studied the musical preferences and riding behavior of the typical bike share user. As a result of this study, the first radio station available across all markets will be Michael Bublé Radio. As it turns out, Michael Bublé’s full-voiced, retro crooning is a perfect match for bike share.
“Bublé’s music is safe, accessible, and universally adored, just like bike share. We were very careful to control for demographic and cultural idiosyncrasies in our test markets. Bike share users across the board showed a strong affinity to his music” said Daisy Ashford, Programs Director at B-cycle.
As long as the program is successful after the initial five-year review period, Ashford said, B-Cycle and SiriusXM plan to add new radio stations featuring other artists that represent the taste of bike share users, like Journey, Adele, and Björk.
According to Ashford, this partnership will allow bike share operators in mature systems to gain mode share. “This is a chance for bike share to appeal to new users and keep current riders loyal. If Michael Bublé is going to help us do that, we’ll give them Bublé.” said Ashford.
Speakers will be attached to the front of each bike, replacing the storage basket, according to Ashford. To ensure that the radio could be heard above ambient city traffic noise, the speakers will be pre-set at 110 decibels, about the volume of a chainsaw.
“There are trade-offs. But it’s a decision defined by economic considerations and user preferences. Our user surveys show that riders prefer loud, heavy speakers over wide, heavy baskets.” Ashford said.
For SiriusXM, this partnership allows the satellite radio provider to enter into a new market. While they currently target motorists, home listeners, and retail businesses, the bike share industry is still untapped.
“It’s only fair that bike share users have the same privilege to listen to the radio on their commute as a car driver does. And if someone can blast music from a car and sing freely at the top of their lungs, why not let bike share riders share the same privilege while listening to Michael Bublé?” said Nicholas Sparks, Vice President of Broadcast Operations at SiriusXM.
This announcement is the next in a series of announcements by B-cycle, currently competing to be the premiere bike share operator in North America. In February, B-cycle announced that annual members of 15 of their U.S. programs can now check out bikes at any participating program. And in January, the operator launched a bike share program at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.
Ashford said that this partnership with SiriusXM could lead to the development of all kinds of new ridership experiences in months to come. “We have other programs in the works. I can’t reveal what they all are. But let’s just say that one of them involves hot coffee and chimpanzees.”
Whatever B-cycle comes up with next, it’s clear that today is April Fool’s Day.