B-cycle Madison FAQ's

What is Madison B-cycle?  

Madison B-cycle is a new way to get around town or campus. Madison B-cycle members can pick up a bike at any B-station and return it to that same station or any other B-station when they’re done. Using their B-cards, members can unlock a bike in seconds. Returning a bike is even easier. Just roll it into a dock and walk away. The onboard B-cycle trip computer allows members to track all the miles they ride, the calories they burn, and the carbon emissions they avoid.

Why Do we Need Madison B-cycle?  


The B-cycle is a magic bike: there when you need it and gone when you don’t. No more hassles with locking, maintaining, fixing, or storing your getting-around-town bike. Let B-cycle take care of all that!
About 40% of all trips made in America each day are fewer than two miles long. That’s the perfect length for a bicycle trip! A network of B-cycles are located throughout Madison and allows people to economically and conveniently avoid road congestion and parking problems, and reduce pollution. That’s not all: biking also improves your health and puts a smile on your face!


Who Can use B-cycle?  

Anybody! The bikes easily adjust to just about any adult’s size. Just sign up for a membership and you’re ready to ride.

What About the B-cycle?  

Imagine a bike that is always ready to ride, where and when you want to ride it. The tires are always inflated, the chain is never rusty, and your pants will never get a grease smudge. The bike has a basket to carry your goods, and has front and rear lights. It fits people of all sizes, and best of all, it’s there when you need it, and gone when you don’t. That’s a B-cycle. And it’s powered by the ultimate alternative fuel: you.

How does B-cycle work?

Madison B-cycle relies on the integration of hardware and software to keep track of members and bikes, and all the interactions between users and bikes. Proprietary GPS and RFID technologies make it possible for bike sharing to be so smart that it is simple for users. 

All your rides are tracked by the system. Data such as distance, duration, calories burned, and carbon offset will be captured and uploaded to your personal page at Madison.Bcycle.com.
How does the lock work?

Becoming a Member of B-cycle Madison

How much is it to become a member?  

Madison B-cycle charges a membership fee to gain unlimited access to the system for the duration of your chosen membership period in addition to a time-based usage fee that varies according to how long you keep the bike on each ride. To encourage both usage and bike availability, the first 30 minutes of every ride is free for all members!

You can buy a membership that is good for 24 hours, 7 days, one year. All memberships can be purchased on this website, and 24-hour memberships can also be purchased at the kiosk that is part of every Madison B-station.
What is a B-card?  

A B-card is a plastic card issued to Madison B-cycle annual members. Using their B-card, annual members can check out bikes directly from the docks at any B-station, instead of using the kiosk. The B-card checkout method is super-fast and convenient!

The B-cards contain an RFID chip uniquely associated with the member’s account. When the B-card is presented at a Madison B-cycle dock, the B-cycle computer is queried to confirm that the member is in good standing and to associate the member with the bike they are checking out. When a bike is returned, the B-cycle computer updates the member’s account.
B-cards also contain a magnetic strip so the cards can be read by the credit-card reader found on the kiosk. This allows B-card holders to identify themselves at the kiosk to obtain time credits when a station is full.
How do I get a B-card?

B-cards are issued to all annual members.  B-cards are  sent in the mail following online registration, within 1 week of the online purchase date.

Can I become a member without a credit card?  


Madison B-cycle requires that all accounts be associated with a credit card, or a debit card that does not require a PIN for use.
How often is my credit card charged for B-cycle fees?  

Membership fees are charged when registration occurs. Usage fees accumulate during the membership period. 24-hour, 7-day, and 30-day members will be charged for usage fees at the end of their membership period. Annual members will be charged on the first of each month for usage fees accrued during the previous month.

Can I buy more than one membership with my credit or debit card?  

When signing up online, only one membership can be associated with one credit or debit card. When buying a 24-hour membership at a station kiosk, up to four memberships can be purchased with the same credit or debit card, but the same card must be present for all subsequent checkouts during the membership period


How do I extend my membership to a later expiration date?

If you have a membership that is shorter than annual, you can upgrade it to an annual membership by paying the additional amount necessary. To be eligible for this upgrade option, you must upgrade before your other membership expires. For example, if you bought a monthly membership for $20 on July 1 that expires on July 30, you can log in to your personal web page anytime in July and upgrade to an annual membership that will expire on June 30 of the following year. If the cost of an annual membership is $50, you will have to pay only $30 ($50 minus $20) for the upgrade.

Annual members also have the option of automatically renewing their annual memberships by selecting Auto-Renewal in the Account Preferences section of their personal web page.

Will I still be able to access my personal B-cycle web page after my membership period ends?

Personal web pages remain “live” for three years after the lapse of membership. 

What should I do if I’ve lost my B-card?

Call Customer Service immediately so that we can suspend the card and prevent anyone else from using your card to gain access to a bicycle for which you are financially responsible.

A replacement card will be provided for a nominal fee.

While waiting for your replacement B-card to arrive, you can check out bikes by using the kiosk at each station. You must present the credit card associated with your membership account. 

What if I don’t agree with a credit card charge?

Call Customer Service.

 What if I want to cancel my membership?

Membership fees are non-refundable, but if you wish to suspend your account to prevent any new usage fees, call Customer Service or manage your account on your personal B-cycle web page.

How can my B-card get denied?

Upon presenting your B-card at a station kiosk or dock for authentication, the system checks whether your account is in good standing. If there is a problem, your card will be denied. Please call Customer Service to determine the cause of the problem.

How do I receive or stop text notifications?

When registering, members can choose whether they want to receive text notifications. Members can change that preference anytime thereafter by logging into their personal B-cycle web page and managing their account settings.

How do I change or update my credit card information?

Members can change their credit card information by logging into their personal B-cycle web page and managing their account settings.

What should I do if a bike gets damaged while I have it checked out?

Return a damaged bike to a B-station, if possible, or if that is not possible, securely lock it and contact Customer Service, 1-800-473-4743. Do not ride a bike with damage that affects its safety features.

Members are financially liable for damages to bikes under their care. Refer to Terms and Conditions for your system.

What if I lose the key?

Contact Customer Service. Some systems will charge a fee for a lost key. Refer to the website of specific systems.

What if the bike is stolen? Will I be financially responsible for the loss of the bike?

Contact Customer Service. Under the Terms and Conditions agreed to upon registering for membership, members may be liable up to a specified limit if a bicycle is stolen or lost while under their care. Refer to the Terms and Conditions posted on your system’s website.

When does my membership period begin?

Your membership period begins the first time you check out a bike.

How do I find my personal ride statistics?

Information about each member’s use of B-cycles is posted to that member’s personal B-cycle web page. Members must log in to view the information, which includes such information as the date and duration of each trip, the station from which the bike was checked out and the station to which the bike was returned, the distance pedaled, the usage fee (if any), the associated calories burned, and carbon offset.

How does B-cycle calculate my miles ridden, etc.?

B-cycles are equipped with an internal GPS device that tracks the bike’s trips. Other technology associates each trip with the member who checked out the bike. After this information is transferred to B-cycle’s computers, algorithms translate the trip information into estimates of the number of calories burned and carbon emissions avoided (as compared to the use of an average automobile for the same trip). If there are technical errors with the data collection or transfer, an estimate will be applied and clearly noted as such.

Can I buy more than one membership with my credit card?

When signing up online, only one membership can be associated with a credit card. When buying a one-day membership at a kiosk, more than one membership can be associated with a credit card, but the same card must be presented each time a bike is checked out during the membership period.


Is it legal to ride a bike without a helmet?

Adults may legally ride a bike without a helmet everywhere in the United States, but B-cycle strongly recommends wearing a helmet whenever riding a bicycle.

Does B-cycle provide helmets for riders?

No. There are hygiene and safety issues with shared helmet use. It is the responsibility of the rider to supply his or her own helmet. 

Can I check out a bike immediately after returning a bike?

Yes, however Madison B-cycle reserves the right to impose a rule that requires a short waiting period between returning a bike and checking out another.

What do the lights and sounds on the dock signify?

A B-cycle dock beeps when a bike has been unlocked or when the bike has been returned.

When the bike is unlocked, the dock beeps continuously until the bike is removed (or 30 seconds, whichever comes first). The green light will also flash from the time the bike is unlocked until it is removed from the dock.

When a bike is returned and properly inserted into the dock, the dock will beep three times very quickly, and the green light will likewise blink three times very rapidly.

If the red “X” is lit on the dock, there is a problem with either the bike or the dock itself. Try a different dock!

If the orange “bad card” sign is lit, we need to talk to you about a problem with your membership. Just call the Customer Service number printed on your B-card or displayed on the bikes and kiosk.

Can minors participate in B-cycle?

The rules for participating in B-cycle vary from one system to another. Refer to the website of specific systems.

Are B-cycle systems open 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

Madison B-Cycle is open to check out a bike from 5am - 12am seven days a week. A B-cycle can be returned to a station 24 hours a day. 

Are B-cycle systems open all year?

Madison B-Cycle will close for the season on December 15, 2011. B-Cycle will resume in 2012 from March 15 - December 15

What if the station where I want to return a bike is closed?

Bikes can be returned any time, regardless of whether the system is open or closed. Two beeps and two green blinks indicate a successful return. 

What if I have a flat tire?

Please return a bike with a flat tire to the nearest B-station. If that is impossible, you must properly secure the bike with the built-in lock and contact Customer Service via phone.

What if I am involved in an accident?

If there has been an injury, please dial 911 first. If you are qualified to administer first aid and there is a need, please help out to the limit of your abilities. If appropriate, contact the police, as well. As in any accident, exchange information with any other affected party and collect contact information from witnesses. Contact Customer Service at the earliest appropriate time.

What if a station is full and I need to find an empty dock to return a bike?

If you have a bike you wish to return, but there are no available docks at a station, you must locate a station with available docks and return the bike there. The kiosk located at each station will provide real-time information about which nearby stations have available docks. The kiosks at full stations will also add 15 free minutes to your ride so that you can take the bike to an open station without financial penalty.

What if a station is empty, but I want to check out a bike?

The B-cycle website and associated mobile applications for each system provides a map of all B-stations in that system with real-time information about the availability of bikes.

What if I want to reserve a bike?

B-cycle does not allow members to reserve a bike.

What if I want to keep a bike all day or longer?

B-cycle is a bike-sharing system designed to promote the constant use and turnover of bikes for short journeys. The pricing system provides incentives for members to keep their trips short. The longer the trip, the higher the usage fee. B-cycle system operators will seek to recover bikes that have not been returned after a specified period of time, and bikes not returned within a three-day limit will be considered lost and members will be liable for a replacement fee (see the applicable Terms and Conditions).

How do I find stations?

The B-cycle website and associated mobile applications for each system provide a map of all B-stations in that system. In some locations, maps may also be displayed at B-stations.

Why can’t I sign up for more than one day at a kiosk?

To make the kiosk sign-up process as simple and quick as possible, only one-day memberships are available at the kiosks.