Take that, Detroit: Denver starts new bike-loan program

Another city has implemented a program that allows free bicycles for anyone who wants to borrow one. This time, it's Denver, a city that is relatively compact, beautifully sited, and an ideal place to enjoy a bike ride. There are already some 358 miles of bike routes ready to be used.

The concept began last year when the Democratic National Convention gave a $1 million grant to make 1,000 bikes available to delegates. Over the four days of the convention, the bikes racked up some 26,416 of miles, and the city realized it was onto something.

So this permanent "Denver B-Cycle" program, the first in a major American city, is being readied for a summer opening. Funded by a third party with no city money, new stations are being installed near hotels, museums, and the convention center. Anyone who wants to borrow one of 500 bikes need only swipe their credit card as a guarantee that they will return it, which must be done by 10am on the next business day. Each bike will come with a basket that carries up to 30 pounds.