Years in the making, the city of Charleston's first official bike share program, Holy Spokes, launched with a ceremony at the Medical University of South Carolina on Tuesday.

As part of the launch, MUSC Chief Executive Officer Patrick Cawley challenged bike share users to burn 1 million calories combined using the bikes during the first year.

The bikes, assembled in Charleston by The Gotcha Group, have integrated technology powered via a small solar panel that gives real-time data from each bike ride, including calories burned, carbon dioxide emissions reduced and money saved.

"When it comes to a city's livability, evaluating transportation options is key in increasing the quality of life in American communities," said Cawley, noting that biking is becoming "the norm" in cities of all sizes.

"As the main MUSC campus becomes bigger and more spread out, biking becomes a key transportation method. We want to help support its growth, and forward-thinking initiatives like this are critical to our futures."

After a brief ceremony featuring talks by Cawley, Gotcha CEO Sean Flood, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and City Councilman Mike Seekings, groups of six to 10 rode the bikes through the peninsula to various locations.

In all, 250 bikes will be available for people to use on the peninsula. Fees are $8 a hour, $15 per month (providing 30 minutes of free ride time daily) and $69 a year (an hour of free ride time daily).

For more information, go to charlestonbikeshare.com

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Contact David Quick at 843-937-5516. Follow him on Twitter @DavidQuick.

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