Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bcycling all over Denver

Our good friends Meghan and Neil were in town for Halloween this past weekend and we spent the day Saturday doing what their city of Crested Butte is known for: bicycling. Of course most everyone in Crested Butte owns a bike and the town is a lot easier to get around since it's so much smaller. Since Chad and I don't live anywhere near downtown and we only own two bikes, we introduced Meghan and Neil to the easiest way to cover the city of Denver which is renting a B-cycle.

The B-cycle is a bike sharing program that Denver adopted this past Earth Day on April 22nd. Denver is one of only five cities in the United States that has a program like this. The concept is very simple - rent a bike from any one of the dozens of stations around town and return it to any station convenient whenever you like. The stations are solar paneled and all you have to do to rent your bike is to swipe your credit card, select your bike and you're off. It's $5 for a 24 hour period and within that time frame you can rent and return any bike and as long as you use it less than 30min you incur no extra fees. Use the bike anywhere from 31-60min and it's $1.60; 61-90 minutes it's $3.30; 91-120 minutes you pay $6.60 and every 30min after that it's an extra $4.40 with the daily maximum of $65. Obviously these bikes are only meant for quick trips around town with the daily rate being a little high. The best deal if you can take advantage of these bikes daily is an annual membership for $65 which allows you to check out a bike directly from the dock and not have to hassle with the station machines which can be finicky as we found out. For October they even ran a deal where you could get $10 off your membership and a free helmet.

The bikes themselves are fantastic to ride. Each has a basket on the front and a lock and key should you need to secure your bike while running an errand. They have lights on the front or back, bells, and three speeds as well as being adjustable so any person of any height can make themselves comfortable. Plus they are the easiest way to get around downtown Denver. We took M&N down the cherry creek trail, through uptown and back around and it being a Saturday there wasn't hardly any traffic at all to worry about. This is probably one of the most fun and cheapest activities you can do in the city and an especially nice way to show out of town guests around. We have even used them after a night out to ride from one end of town to the other instead of walking or hailing a cab.

I hope more cities install this program in the future. I love the concept of being able to rent a bike whenever I want and to return it at the end of the day. I wish they had this when I first moved to Denver because I didn't own a car and this would have been a great way for me to run my errands and easier (cheaper and more eco-friendly) than renting a car. You can even go online before you ride to see how many bikes each station has and how many docks are open. Take advantage now because the system is only open March through November, between then you are stuck walking through the snow!

Happy B-cycling!

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