Sunday, January 01, 2017
Keep on Rolling
Riding a bike is an amazing way to get to know a place. When you walk you see the people, the traffic, and the sidewalks (pavement to the Brits) at a pedestrian pace. When you drive or ride in a car, you see traffic and building from the window line up at a faster pace. Riding a bike is a mix of the two, it is faster than walking, more exposed than driving. On a bike you feel the texture of the place. You smell the essence of the landscape. On a bike you know where the hills are - both going up and coming down.
I am so glad I learned to ride as a child, and that I have rediscovered the joys of riding as an adult.
I only travel with a bike, when I am driving, and then only when I am traveling solo - I don't a car large enough for a bike, two people and luggage. I have rented bikes when I travel. More and more cities have "Bike Sharing" systems. I have used bike shares in Boston, Chicago, New York, and DC (I am an annual member in DC.) I have rented bikes in San Francisco a couple of times. Don't be afraid to rent a bike. The good rental services will have a bike in your size, in good repair. They provide a lock, and most provide loaner helmets.
The Bike Sharing services provide daily or short term memberships. Pretty much all of them work the same way. You use a credit card, it charges the rental fee to your card, and places a security hold on your card (usually $200.) You ride the bike, dock it at the next station, and when you are ready for your next ride within the period of you have paid for, you use the same credit card, it verifies your number and does not charge you as long as you are within the time frame you paid for. You can use a dozen bikes in the same day, without an extra charge. The Bike Sharing systems have a time limit on each ride, generally 30 minutes. To avoid an extra charge, you need to return - or dock the bike within 30 minutes of starting checking it out. But you can turn around and check the bike back out again - immediately. If you are a casual rider, 30 minutes is a long ride, most time you will be glad to return the bike, take a break and then check out another bike and move on. The key to a longer ride with a bike share bike, is to break the ride into short, less than 30 minute segments. If you planning a ride longer than 30 minutes (4-5 miles) don't use a Bike Sharing system - rent a bike from a service.
Does your town have Bike Sharing or a good bike rental service?