Get Biki With It!

Lori McCarney, executive director of Bikeshare Hawaii, is the woman behind those now-ubiquitous Biki bikes (photos courtesy Bikeshare Hawaii).

Along auahi street, a woman walks up to a rack of aqua blue bicycles, reads instructions on the kiosk, pulls one out of the station—and offshe goes.

“Good for her,” says Lori McCarney, executive director of nonprofit Bikeshare Hawaii.

The organization she leads operates these iconic bikes under brand name Biki, and the term has become more than just a label. Th e catchy nature of Biki (pronounced bee-key) and its versatility as a brand, lifestyle, noun and verb—“I’ll Biki and meet you there.”—is due to McCarney’s background in marketing. She’s got 40 years of experience in senior management and advertising, and specializes in marketing, as well as business strategy and brand development.

She’s had mainland stints at McCann-Erickson and Grey Advertising, Wells Fargo and Bank of America and moved to Hawai‘i in 1999, when she started a decades-long resume that includes positions at Bank of Hawaii, Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific and Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties.

“Th ere are multiple parts of my career, which is fantastic,” she says. “Life really is about different adventures.”

And the excitement extended to her personal life, as well. During her time at Coldwell Banker in 2004, she started doing triathlons—a thrilling feat considering she didn’t know how to swim at the time. When she retired, that’s when she really started getting serious about triathlons and so far has competed in 60 events and 11 Ironman competitions.

Basically, she’s the perfect person to lead Bikeshare Hawaii and its Biki movement.

Triathlon training includes biking, and during her practice sessions, McCarney noticed lack of infrastructure for cyclists.

So she set offto research the topic, and she found that in cities similar to Honolulu, getting non-riders on bikes sparked movements for cyclist-friendly change.

During this time, she also discovered the city was doing a bike sharing study, testing for viability. Th e findings suggested yes, and when the newly formed organization was searching for an executive director, McCarney applied for the job.

“It was my contribution,” she says. “It’s a place that’s been really good to me, and I wanted to make it a better place for biking and walking. Th at’s been my mission.”

Biki bikes, she notes, are also different and more user-friendly than typical contraptions. Th ey’re lighter (by about 10 pounds), the wheels are smaller and there are fewer gears for easy riding—basically, McCarney says, they’re basic on purpose. And Honolulu is the first city in the world to utilize this new wave of bicycles.

“Biki is here for everybody, it’s not just a visitor amenity or just resident transportation,” she says. “It’s really just a convenient way to get around that’s very affordable.”

Bikeshare Hawaii introduced Biki in March 2017, and the reception so far has been great. For those nonriders (or cyclists who really love the bike share system), Biki also has options to support its mission through Adopt A Biki.

Adopters can have an inscription imprinted on a Biki and a special dashboard allows them to see what their adopted bikes have been up to. For McCarney and husband Rick, their adoptee “Th e Keene Machine” has racked up more than 5,000 minutes of ride time and has burned nearly 40,000 calories. Th e couple also enlisted friends to donate to the cause.

“When we moved to a condo, we gave away our furniture and stuffto friends,” McCarney recalls. “And we asked them to make a donation to Biki.”

Their friends welcomed the request and adopted “Rick and Lori’s Repurposeful Friends 2016,” which has to its name 4,600 minutes of ride time and 33,800 calories burned.

Bikis tally literally thousands of riding minutes, and McCarney thinks it’s because biking is just a fun experience.

“It feels good,” she adds. “Th ere’s just something about it. I just like to talk to people about it because I enjoy it so much. It’s such a nice way to get around.”

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