For many active road warriors, being on the road can mean missing out on the benefits associated with biking to work. And the benefits can be significant—bike commuters get a boost in physical activity and fitness levels. They also get daily opportunities to breathe fresh air, reflect, and escape the stresses of the work day.
While for some the idea of packing a portable bike may sound like an appealing solution, this is rarely a practical endeavor. Besides—I have yet to see a travel policy that has a provision for checking bicycles.
But fear not—many cities across the U.S. and around the world have implemented programs that make it easy for travelers to reap the benefits of cycling, while leaving their own bikes nestled safely at home.
Bike sharing is a concept wherein a fleet of bicycles are available for low-cost, short-term use within the region that program covers. For example, Minnesota has a program called “Nice Ride MN” that spans parts of Minneapolis and St. Paul. It is a subscription-based program with a small subscription fee (currently $6 for 24 hours or $65 for a year).
Once a user has subscribed to the program, they are able to check out bikes from 65 stations, and there is no cost to keep the bikes for up to 30 minutes—which allows plenty of time to get to the next station to check the bike in and check out another one. Bikes can be checked out for longer than 30 minutes, but additional fees apply based on the amount of time over 30 minutes.
There are programs like popping up all over the U.S., including Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. just to name a few. A more comprehensive list of these programs is available here.
So tell me—have you used any of these bike share programs—either at home or while you were on the road? If not, are they something you might use in the future?