A Leisurely Ride: Bay Area bike share provides alternative to public transportation


Daniela Gonzalez

The Bay Area Bike Share, a program in which Bay Area residents can rent bicycles for 30-minute time periods as a convenient form of carbon-free transportation, opened for business in Mountain View on August 29, 2013, and is currently operating full-time.

According to the program’s website, “[the] bike sharing system consists of a fleet of specially designed, heavy-duty, very durable bikes that are locked into a network of docking stations located throughout a region.” There are a total of 700 bikes and 70 solar-powered docking stations in the Bay Area region located in San Francisco, Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View, and San Jose.

While bicycles acquired through the program in San Francisco must remain within the city at all times, bicycles in any of the four other cities can be rented and returned at any of the other stations throughout the region. Specifically in Mountain View, there are seven Bay Area Bike Share stations. Users can view the number of available bikes and docks online or by using the iPhone app, CycleFinder, which provides regularly updated station information.

The Bike Share program claims to be very accessible and user-friendly, and also strives to benefit the health of both its users and the environment. As stated on the Bike Share website, transportation in the Bay Area, “accounts for more than 50 percent of air pollution.” This program provides a simple alternative to environmentally detrimental transportation, subsequently reducing carbon emissions while simultaneously allowing users to get a quick cardiovascular workout.

Currently, the Bay Area Bike Share annual membership costs $88 and are available to those who are at least 18 years of age and have a debit or credit card. Annual memberships can be purchased online. 3-day memberships are $22, whereas 24-hour memberships are only $9. The last two forms of membership can be purchased directly at rental kiosks. Membership includes unlimited 30-minute rides, but exceeding the time limit will result in overtime fees.

Ride safety tips are listed on the program’s website and users are highly encouraged to bring their own helmets. For more information, visit the Bay Bike Share Website at www.bayareabikeshare.com.