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We can’t get enough of different cities and their bike sharing programs. London and Boston are just two of the latest towns to get their two-wheeled act together in the last couple of years, and earlier this month Toronto joined the pedal powered party.
Canada’s largest city added around 1,000 bikes thanks to a little bit of assistance from around 80 different stations in and about the downtown area. The Public Bike System Company is behind the city’s new shipment of velocipedes, but for those looking to simply score a cheap ride it’s better known as Bixi. This is the same kind of system that’s already in use in spots like Montreal and Washington, DC, so it might look kind of similar—and that’s a good thing.
No need to hit up Paris or London this summer to ride around in pay-per-ride bicycles, as another city here at home is getting ready for a two-wheel test. Boston is just about ready to unleash its public bike sharing system on the masses, so get ready for a wicked fun time.
Things are moving full speed ahead, and if all goes as planned, the new system—it's called Hubway—could begin as early as July. They’ll start with just 600 or so bikes at around 60 stations around the city, but they’re already thinking about explaining. Eventually the plan is to have like 5,000 bikes all over the greater metropolitan area including spots like Brookline and Cambridge.
Bike Rentals / Bike Sharing / Bicycling / Biking / Paris Travel / Velib Bikes / → All Tags
If you’ve been to Paris in the last few years, you’ve probably seen all those Vélib bicycles ready for tourists and locals alike to take them for a spin. We’ve even had the pleasure of pedaling one with a baguette in our basket, so it’s with great pleasure that we wish them well on their fourth anniversary this summer.
However, it’s pricey to keep all those seats nice and cushy, and it looks like the bike sharing program is going to cost everyone a few more euros and cents. Starting at the beginning of May—that’s like this week—prices will rise by around 70 cents. Now one-day tickets will set you back €1.70, where things were previously just €1—that’s roughly $2.50 for those of us that have credit cards based in the nifty fifty.
Tonight at 10pm EST, the Travel Channel premieres what it hopes will be its next big, addictive TV show. It's called Triple Rush, and the hour-long episodes document life as a bike messenger in the big city, New York City.
It's basically like the Travel Channel's answer to Discovery's Deadliest Catch, except where the fisherman of Catch face-off against natural forces and risk their lives to bring home the big bucks, Triple Rush depicts those who battle against the manmade obstacles of the city, just to bring in whatever cash they can. Ah, but then there's the adrenaline...
We’ve been following public bike sharing around the globe for quite some time, and we even got to test out the famous Vélib bikes in Paris not too long ago. The latest city to join the craze is London, and we’re sure that the Barclays Cycle Hire will only get bigger and better with the royal wedding just a few months away, not to mention the Olympics in 2012.
Things kicked off last summer, but the real fun began last month when things were opened up to the general public with fewer restrictions and no specific membership requirements. London’s bike rental program works pretty similar to others, so all you need to do is find a bike rack, throw down a few bucks—Pounds Sterling in this case—and then start pedaling.
Travel Snapshot / Bike Travel / Bicycling / Tokyo Travel / Japan Travel / Tokyo Field Trip / → All Tags
What's one of the last things you expect to see in one of the most overly crowded cities in the world, where space is at a premium? Perhaps space used thoughtfully...say for these official bicycle parking spots in the Tsukishima district of Tokyo, maybe?
Tokyo may be stacked with sleek (and not-so-sleek) high-rise apartment buildings and the most artfully shaped houses that fit on the most impossibly small plots of land, but the city is very respectful of its citizens needs, and shows it in small and much-appreciated ways like this. Notice that many of the bikes aren't even locked up, even though we were just off of Monja-dori, a popular restaurant strip that serves up Okonomiyaki and Monjayaki specialties to loads of locals and tourists every evening.
Now just imagine if every major city had been as thoughtful about such things; it wouldn't be so difficult to find places for bike sharing programs, then.
Bike Rentals / Bike Sharing / Bicycling / Biking / Paris Travel / Velib Bikes / → All Tags
Last week on our trip to Paris, we had a great Tuesday all planned out--grab a croissant and a cappucino and head out to Versailles. Unfortunately, we were thwarted by a 36-hour Metro strike, an annoying but common occurrence in Paris.
So we had to rejigger our itinerary a bit to do some sightseeing instead. But how we were going to get around? We were staying at the schmancy Le Meurice on Rue de Rivoli, which is very central (and near the Louvre) but we were not keen to spend the entire day walking around the city. Nor were we going to pony up for the hotel's chauffeur services or go crazy trying to hail a cab.
Then we spotted Vélib, the city's bike rental system.
For one euro day, you can rent a bike and ride around the city like a real Parisian. The bikes even come with a basket for you to store your baguettes, fresh flowers and a bottle of red wine. Yet, there is a dark side to Vélib. Let us tell you now:
Bike Sharing / Bicycling / Active Travel / Chicago Travel / Green Travel / Sports Travel / Travel Snapshot / → All Tags
Get excitedChicago finally has a bike-sharing system! Frickin' finally is what we say. Back in early July when we released our Complete Guide to Bike Sharing in North America, Chicago didn't even make the cut, and thankfully they're now working on that.
Our Windy City connection @jaredhatch_com tweeted a photo of one of the newest bike sharing stations recently, this one directly at the base of the tourist-favorite John Hancock Center. It's also across the street from the Westin Hotel, so it's obvious that Chicago wants more than locals to take advantage of the program.
While Lance Armstrong and company suffered a number of bike crashes in the second stage of the Tour de France, you'll be able to travel easy-peasy with your bicycle if you fly JetBlue. In honor of the famous international bike race, JetBlue will allow passengers to bring their two-wheelers on planes for free throughout July.
The airline usually charges a $50 fee for checked-in bikes each way and $80 for international flights, so you cyclists pedal over to the airport and take advantage of the freebie this month.
Bike sharing in Minneapolis
Update August 2010: Chicago finally has begun their own bike sharing program with the folks from Denver's B-Cycle. See more information on it here.
Bike Sharing is not all bikini-wearing girls and hot, muscled guys pedaling along as Miami would have us believe, but it is a very attractive, eco-friendly addition to the urban infrastructure, and cities across North America are either already installing solar-powered bike rental kiosks or studying those that have.
Paris' popular Velib program is the best known, but would you have guessed that Minneapolis is rolling out the largest system in the US, and that Mexico City plans to have 6,000 bikes scattered around their neighborhoods? It's not just Europe having all the two-wheeled fun. Check out our guide to North America's cities that bike share:
Minneapolis: Nice Ride, by the makers of Montreal's Bixi system, is entering Phase 1 with 1,000 bikes in 80 locations. They'll be all over downtown and at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities' campus. The first 30 minutes are free but you can get 24 hours for $5 or an annual subscription for $60. [Nice Ride]
You may know the Velib bikes of Paris or the SmartBike system of Washington DC, but you've never seen bike sharing like this. Miami is getting in the green groove by installing new DecoBike stations all around the Art Deco district and Miami Beach, and they are doing it in the sexiest way possible.
Like with other bike sharing systems, you must first join online and then you are free to opt for either a monthly pass for unlimited use or pay-per-hour. And just to get people interestedand away from slowly cruising in convertibles down Collins AvenueDecoBike is promoting itself using images of hot girls and guys riding their bikes, plus a promotional video that touts the weight loss and health benefits of bike riding. Way to play up to the body-focused culture of South Beach!
2009 seemed to be the year that bike sharing programs blossomed, as everywhere from Montreal to Rio de Janeiro set up racks and programs to get their citizens cycling. And although we told you yesterday all about how to get your own bike on the plane with you, bike sharing programs are just as cool and convenient...if you're in a city that has one.
Up until now, the only US city to offer bike sharing was Washington DC with their Smartbikes, but it was recently announced that Denver is going whole-hog with their bike sharing program, called B-Cycle. Registration is already open for the city-wide program, and they're planning on offering 45-50 stations with 500 bikes from late April. Perhaps Google's move to map Boulder's 360 miles of bike paths gave them a little kick in the seat to get things going in Denver?
So how much is it? Find out, after the jump