Bicycle Sharing in Boston: Hubways, Bike Lanes and Sharrows, Oh My!

Bicycle Sharing is really taking off across the country – with NYC’s Citi bike coming online this month and Buffalo Bike Share on its way, I have been eager to use a bicycle sharing system and write about it.

I was just recently in Boston and had the opportunity to use their new regional “Hubway” bicycle sharing system. With Buffalo in the beginning stages of getting a Bicycle sharing program (Buffalo Bike Share!), I thought it would be good to discuss my bicycle sharing experience in Boston with all my fellow Buffalonians!

I am not going to lie, I was very hesitant to use a bicycle in Boston. I was worried about the offensive drivers, riding in a much bigger city and the organic, (often wacky, if you ask me) and seemingly directionless street grid. Lucky for me, my wonderful friend Helen is a year around bicycle commuter in Boston and she threw a helmet in my lap and made me try the bicycle share.

In Boston, it seems as if everyone rides a bicycle. There are bicycle lanes, locking racks and Hubway stations everywhere. Even where bicycle lanes did not fit, there were “sharrows” that indicated to the driver to share the road with bicyclists. There is even a well lit cycle track integrated within the MIT campus. Considering how cold Boston can be (similar to Buffalo!), I was surprised to see bicycles and bicycle infrastructure everywhere!

About Hubway:

For $12 bucks, you can have a three day pass to the Hubway bicycle sharing program. As a tourist or visitor, this is a great alternative to renting a bicycle, driving and parking, subway rides at 2+ dollars each and/or walking everywhere. The hubway stations are easy to understand and very accessible. The bicycles are comfortable to ride, pretty light weight and well taken care of.

There are “hubway” hubs every few blocks because they are designed for short trips – a 30 minute ride or less is covered under the $12 dollar charge. Anything over 30 minutes incurs additional fees that rapidly go up with every minute. Wondering why? The goal of any bicycle sharing program is short, quick trips – getting the bicycles and the people from one station to another. Considering the the majority of bicycle trips are under 2 – 3 miles, this 30 minute goal can be easily achieved!

Boston is a wonderful city to use a bicycle in. I am still surprised as to how fun and fairly stress free it was to ride a bicycle in such a big city… maybe it was my tour guide (thanks Helen!) but there’s no doubt that the bicycle infrastructure helped. For me,  using the Hubway allowed me to see so many areas of the city very quickly but also in great detail. It was fun to ride over bridges, along the water and see the downtown area. I felt like I took a city tour except I wasn’t in a bus – I  was on a bike. It was a fun experience!! One can only hope that Buffalo continues to get more bicycle infrastructure added to our streets so we can grow our bicycle culture. I am really looking forward to seeing how the Buffalo BikeShare program works out!

This article from Treehugger.com came online today really sums up the details and facts surrounding the bike share craze. Check it out!

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Boston”s Hubway Bicycle Sharing Program has bicycle hubs throughout the City.
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A view of Boston taken while bicycling down a riverview route that I cannot remember. Love the sailboats!
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Here I am, happy as a clam in Boston because I am riding a Boston Hubway Bicycle.

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