Reserving Your Bike1 of 12
Many bike share programs have smartphone apps where you can locate the closest rack and see whether or not a bike is available. It's best to reserve ahead of time to guarantee a bike when you arrive—especially if you're planning to ride with a group. Generally, availability isn't an issue, but it's always better to be safe than sorry.
Pricing2 of 12
While this varies by location, pricing models generally follow an hourly or daily rate, and many have the first 30 minutes free. Plan ahead and look for coupon codes to save money. Many local corporate businesses have partnerships to incentivize their employees to take advantage of these programs.
Getting Your Bike3 of 12
Some bike share programs generate a PIN code when you create your reservation—simply enter it on the rack's keypad to unlock your bike, and you're on your way. Others have a kiosk where you enter payment information and a stall number for an available bike—once the transaction is processed, the rack automatically unlocks. Once unlocked, simply pull the bike wheel out of the rack, and secure the lock bar.
Ride, Ride, Ride4 of 12
There's nothing like seeing a new city (or your hometown) from behind the handlebars. Simply cruise around, or have a route in mind as you make your way to your destination. Check the app for other nearby bike share locations—you can rack your bike temporarily while you shop or walk around without losing your reservation. Many programs also include a lock in case there's no rack nearby.
Returning Your Bike5 of 12
If you've completed your ride for the day, return your bike to any of the nearby bike share racks. Once returned and locked, you'll be charged based on your usage. While $7 an hour may seem pricey in the short term, it's definitely cheaper than renting a car. Plus, you only pay when you need to use it.
Things to keep in mind…6 of 12
- Make sure you ALWAYS wear a helmet.
- Follow the rules of the road, and use bike lanes when available.
- Check the bike to make sure the tires are inflated, the seat is secure and the brakes work before you take it out.
- Have a route in mind to save time (and therefore money) when exploring a new area.
- Do not leave the bike unattended for any reason.
Ready to Roll?7 of 12
So you've got the jist of bike share programs, and you're ready for a little two-wheeled adventure—the next slides include a few of the most popular bike share programs in the U.S.
Citi Bike New York CityDay Pass: $12 8 of 12
It's no surprise New York City hosts the largest bike share program in the United States. The system includes over 10,000 bikes with 600 stations across NYC.
DivvyBikes ChicagoDay Pass: $10 9 of 12
With almost 600 stations and 5,800 bikes, Chicago has the second largest bike share program in the nation. Chicago residents and visitors have completed over 10 million trips to date.
Capital Bike ShareDay Pass: $8 10 of 12
Washington D.C. comes in at third largest, with over 3,700 bikes and 440 stations. The program covers five jurisdictions in the immediate DC area.
Nice Ride MinnesotaDay Pass: $6 11 of 12
With over 200 locations and 1,800 bikes available in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area, Nice Ride Minnesota rounds out our list—and also boasts the lowest cost.