Most big cities around the world have now introduced community bike-share programs; you may have noticed these bike stations if you live in a metropolitan area. The bike stations are usually located at central points within the town or city and are never far from another drop-off point. I recently decided to join one of these bike-shares in my local area and — although initially skeptical — I have been quite impressed with how easy they’ve made getting around town. Plus, they offer several other benefits.
As we begin to emerge from what’s felt like quite a long, gloomy winter, I’ve been feeling the urge to get outdoors more. And although I’m a fan of walking, I already do quite a bit of that. So when I saw a lady cycling past me with a cute little basket of groceries, I thought to myself, “Yes! I’ll get a bike!” However, after investigating the cost and finding it would be around $200 dollars, I thought again. As with anything that you focus on in life, you always start to see more of it and thus, I noticed my local bike share station. I decided to join up, and have been enjoying cycling all around town ever since, at a fraction of the cost of a new bike.
Benefits of a community bike share
Bike share programs allow you to use good-quality bikes for short journeys of usually up to around 45 minutes at a time within inner-city areas. The bikes are well-maintained and have their own secure locking system. Furthermore, most only cost around $15 dollars per month. Using a community bike program is a win-win situation. It saves the user money from not having to buy, maintain or store their own bike. By cycling and not using your car you are helping the environment by lowering traffic congestion and pollution. In addition, it also has health benefits as cycling is a great form of exercise, it encourages the user to get outdoors, get some fresh air and sunshine. And after having to spend so much time indoors over the last two years, anything that encourages us to get outside and interact with the world can only be a positive thing.
All the major cities of the world have embraced community bike-share programs and it seems to have really taken off. In London, for example, there are now over 11,500 community bikes located at 750 docking stations. New York City has similar numbers with 12,000 bikes located at 750 stations; Paris has 15,000 bikes located at 1,800 stations, no more than 300 meters apart.
Another good point about using city bike programs is that you can avoid crowded public transport on your commute; with bikes available 24/7, 365 days a year, they really are a great, flexible option for short, city travel. So if you want to save money, get some exercise and help the environment, think about joining a community bike share.
Photo: Zachary Staines, Unsplash