Scott Ball / Rivard Report
San Antonio B-Cycle's nearly seven-year-long search for a title sponsor is over. As of last Friday, roughly 40 newly designed "SWell Cycles" began appearing in docking stations across the city.
Boston-based Steward Health Care System has signed on for a three-year sponsorship, said Thomas McKenzie, co-founder of San Antonio Bike Share, the local nonprofit that operates the BCycle program, which first launched in early 2011.
"It’s a significant title sponsorship," McKenzie said. "We’ve been hunting for one for seven years, and we finally got one.”
Roughly one year ago, Steward merged with the company that owns Southwest General Hospital, establishing a footprint in San Antonio. McKenzie said the "SW" in SWell is a play on the local hospital's name.
The SWell Cycle program "speaks to the value that our bike share offers in helping make San Antonio a fun and healthy place to live, work, and visit,” said J.D. Simpson, executive director of San Antonio Bike Share.
The nonprofit will steadily roll out the new bicycles throughout February, McKenzie said. Southwest General staff will assist in rebranding hundreds of bikes and stations with the goal of fully implementing “SWell Cycle” citywide by early April, according to a San Antonio Bike Share press release. All in all, the program will feature 542 rebranded bicycles and 63 rebranded stations across San Antonio, including a new docking station at Southwest General Hospital.
San Antonio Bike Share is targeting March 19 for a formal grand unveiling, and a newly designed website is slated to go live on March 1.
The nonprofit will continue to manage and operate the service, and there will not be any changes to the way the bicycles are currently used. The sponsorship gives the bike share organization some financial stability and funding for its system, McKenzie said. He did not disclose the financial details of the sponsorship.
"Hopefully this will be a successful partnership and at the end of the three years Steward will want to do it again," he said.
The bike share program will help San Antonians lead healthier and more active lives, Southwest General Hospital President Craig Desmond stated in a release. “This new sponsorship marks an exciting new chapter in Southwest General’s 30-year commitment to the San Antonio community.”
This article was originally published on Feb. 15, 2018.