Boston Mayor Menino gets ready for a ride.

Today, July 28, Boston’s own Mayor Menino will take part in the inaugural Hubway ride – the new bike share system that is scheduled to be fully operational tomorrow, July 29. With stations located throughout downtown, and with plans to expand to other neighbourhoods as the success of program allows, Hubway will surely prove to be a valuable service for those who live in or plan to visit the Boston area. You can check out rates (casual or registered membership available), locations and other information at the Hubway site here – and trips under a half-hour are FREE!

Why a Bike Share?

Joining cities like Paris, London, Montreal, Denver, Miami, Washington D.C. and Minneapolis, Boston has recognized the benefits of cycling, and has decided to implement a system where bikes are conveniently located and available for public use. Especially in crowded downtown areas, offering bicycles as a transportation option can help alleviate traffic congestion and air pollution. It’s also a great way for people to get some exercise, save on gas money, and get to know their neighbourhood (hey – sounds like a lot of the same benefits as a Montague folding bike!). Because the first half hour is free, they’re great for short trips: you can run errands on your lunch break, or ride from home to a restaurant, the store, or the movie theatre. Really, as long as there’s a station located nearby where you can dock the bike, the bike share makes riding in the city easy and convenient, even if you don’t have your own bike with you.

If you’re planning to visit Boston – or any city with a bike share system – these bikes are an excellent way to get around and see the sites. You can get from one side of town to the other a lot faster than walking, and without having to pay for a cab (and let’s face it – in many cities, Boston included, riding your bike is probably faster than taking a cab…heck, in L.A., it’s faster than a plane). Especially if you’re heading to and from locations that have docking stations, there’s really no reason not to try out the bike share.

Be Careful Out There!

While there is a lot to be excited about with the introduction of the bike share, it’s fair to say that Boston isn’t exactly known for its pristinely paved streets and courteous drivers. If you’re not a regular rider, it can be intimidating to ride on the street, especially if it’s been a while since the last time you were on a bike (don’t worry though – you’ll get right back into it. Word has it, it’s just like riding a bike). To make sure everyone is ready for the roads and knows their rights and responsibilities as a cyclist, Hubway is offering FREE bike safety classes. Click here to register for a Hubway class, or if you can’t make it, you can also find information here.

What do You think of Bike Share Systems?

Is there a bike share where you live? Have you used it? How do you think bike share systems affect our ideas of urban transportation? Do you think bike share could ever be as widespread as other forms of public transportation? Will a bike share system impact your decision to buy a bike? Or how often you ride?