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Ride On: Bay Area Bike Share Launches Today!

Bike share station at Market and 10th Streets. Photo by Bryan Goebel

If you biked, walked, or rode a bus downtown today you might have already seen them: hundreds of sparkling sea foam green bikes docked in shiny metal pods. Bay Area Bike Share launched today!

The regional bike share network is starting small, with 700 bikes scattered between San Francisco and San Jose. But there are plans to grow the program to 1,000 by next year and up to 6,000 in the coming years—putting our bike share system on par with New York City’s CitiBike, which is being used by everyone from Brooklyn hipsters to Wall Street workers to celebrities (lots of celebrities).

If you’re one of the thousands of San Franciscans who already has a bike, you might be asking yourself why you’d even need to sign up for bike share. Here are just a few scenarios that I came up with while riding my own bike home last night.

  • You want to meet friends for drinks at a bar, but shouldn’t, really, shouldn’t pedal home wasted. So you ride bike share to the bar, dock it out front and take a cab home with your pals.
  • You’re stuck on the 14-Mission bus, watching people walking faster than the bus itself moves. There’s a bike share pod at the next stop. You ring the bell, hop off, insert your membership card, and pedal past that number 14 and the other two in front of it.
  • Your boss or building owner doesn’t let you bring your bike into the office, so it sits outside your office eight hours a day, just tempting someone to try and pry that trusty U-Lock of yours off.
  • It was raining in the morning, so you didn’t ride your bike. But then, in San Francisco fashion, the sun comes out and you want to take advantage of the actual sun with a long lunch at the Ferry Building. Boom—bike share!
  • You live in a typical San Francisco apartment with steep and narrow stairs, and dammit, after eight years of lugging your bike up and down the stairs, you’d love a break.

The possibilities for using bike share are endless. Well, not really endless yet, since the stations are mostly around downtown to start, but once it goes big, our city will never be the same. 

For now, use bike share. The more people use it, the clearer the message is that San Franciscans want a bigger bike share program. So get a pass ($88 for year, $22 for 3 days or $8 for 1 day) and try it out. It’s not every day that a major city gets a whole new transportation system!