Thoughts, stories and ideas.

What is a bike sharing program? A system that allows users to borrow bikes for a small fee at a certain time period. In most cases, bike stations are scattered across an area and users can borrow and return bikes to and from stations belonging to the same system.

What is Blue bikes? Blue bikes is the bike sharing system in Metro Boston Area - Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Everett and Somerville. As of July 2019, there are over 290 stations across Metro Boston. To illustrate that, each dot in the below map represents a bike station and each station has approximately 1-2 dozen bikes!

Color denotes bike availability - green = available; amber = low; red = empty

Pricing:

Single Trip Pass: $2.50 (includes 30 minutes of ride time)

Adventure Pass: $10 (includes 2 hours of ride time within 24 hours)

Annual Pass: $99 (includes first 45 minutes of each ride)

On July 4th, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts sponsored Free Adventure Pass - a 2-hour unlimited trip on Bluebikes and took this opportunity to stroll around the city via Blue Bikes. I headed to the nearest station and since I already have the app on my phone, I didn't have to get the code from the kiosk. Normally, you would have to purchase a trip and swipe your card through these kiosks:

Instructions are quite straightforward - all you need is to follow the prompt on the screen. Once a purchase gets through, machine prints out receipt with a 5 digit code. You will need to key in code on the keypad attached to the bike dock:

Once the light turns green, just lift and pull the bike out - and voila, you're biking adventure begins!

For 2 hours, I enjoyed riding through the hills of Cambridge/Somerville and by the Charles River. There are still areas without bike lanes so heed traffic signs. Cambridge has done significant strides with their bike lanes in the recent years and there's still room for growth. Old cities like Boston and Cambridge have narrow streets and bike sharing program like this alleviates traffic and lessens carbon footprint - not to mention physical benefits one gets from pedaling!

When you're done, just head to the nearest station to dock your bike. The app has a map available to help you locate the nearest stations or you can go old school ala Carmen Sandiego and keep an eye out for the bright blue bikes.

One more note, I would hihgly recommend to wait until the dock light turns green to ensure bike is properly docked (and avoid the $1200 penalty for stolen/lost bikes).

Happy biking!

**If you're interested to learn more on bike stats in the US, check these sites out and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did!

https://momentummag.com/state-of-the-bike-union-the-2016-biking-walking-benchmark-report/

https://www.bikeleague.org/bfa