Bus-cycles to converge on convention cities

Caroline May | Reporter

Humana, the health insurance company that provided 1,000 bicycles for both the Republican and Democratic National Convention in 2008, is back at it with a new take on healthy, alternative convention transportation: bus-cycles!

The company will be providing 20 bus-cycles, buses propelled by the cycling power of its passengers, to both the RNC in Tampa Bay and the DNC in Charlotte. Each “Freewheelin pedal bus” can carry up to nine passengers — including three middle seats for those who are interested in participating in the peddling.

The bus-cycles, which feature a shade roof to protect passengers from rain and sun, will be provided as a free transportation option to and from popular convention sites — but will stay within distances of one to two miles.

“As we looked at the cities for this year’s conventions, partly because of climate — especially Tampa — being fairly warm at the end of August we looked to see if there were some alternatives to individual bicycles,” Scott Latimer, market president for Humana in Central Florida, explained to The Daily Caller in an interview. “So I guess the evolution of the pedal bus idea partly had to do with thinking about some kind of transportation that was still people powered but in this case had a roof so the sun wasn’t quite so hard on people.”

The company will also provide rest stops along the bus-cycle routes with water, fruit and some health screening activities. Humana’s goal is to keep health on the brain during the conventions and beyond.

“The message certainly that we’re providing along with the transportation is after sitting especially, getting up and being active whether it’s walking, biking, or using a pedacycle is good for people’s health,” Latimer said. “So again they’ll be a little bit of a reminder to everyone that we hope they’re being active during the convention but at least if they’re taking a break and trying to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘A’ if they could be physically active instead of sitting in the back of a cab – I’m not against cabs don’t get me wrong – but it’s more a matter of just getting people to be more physically active just at this event and hopefully after this event.”

Latimer added that 30 minutes of biking can burn off between around 140 to 380 calories. While he said that the bus-cycles will be not be particularly strenuous to use on the relatively flat city terrain, Latimer reiterated that Humana’s goal is to remind people of the importance of staying active.

They will be open for use Mondays-Thursdays during the convention weeks from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the prior Sundays from 1 to 7 p.m.

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