America’s Top 5 Bike-Share Cities for Travelers

business travel bicycle
: Photo credit: Dean Drobot/Shutterstock.com

Traveling for work doesn’t always have to put a kink in your workout routine or set you back at the gym. You may even up your burn with this simple and easy way to stay active and see the city: biking to your meetings instead of taking cabs or public transport. (And no, you don’t need to bring your own bike on the road or get one from a rental shop.) Introduce yourself to bike-sharing programs — an inexpensive way to ride from point A to point B, hassle-free.

Here’s the idea: pay at local kiosks for a single ride, a weekly pass, or an annual subscription, then grab a loaner bike and cruise to the kiosk closest to your meetings.

To show you just how simple commuting on two wheels can be, here are the best bike-friendly cities with lanes and racks galore.

New York City
New York launched its Citi Bike share program three years ago — and it was a hit overnight. The fleet itself doubled from 6,000 bikes strong to 12,000 just last year, and there are now hundreds of kiosks around Manhattan and the outer boroughs. Not to mention, the city boasts over 600 bikeable miles and, let’s face it: getting around NYC during the workday can even be faster on bike than waiting for a train or getting stuck in traffic. If you’re in New York frequently, consider buying an annual membership for $155. If not, you can score a 7-day pass for $25 or a 24-hour pass for a tenner.

Twin Cities
You have to give Minnesota credit — no doubt it’s one of the chilliest places to bike outside, but that didn’t stop the Twin Cities from launching one of America’s first metropolitan bike share programs, Nice Ride, back in 2010. Last year, Nice Ride added 20 kiosks to bring the total bike stations to 190, and increased its fleet to more than 1,700 bikes. By the end of 2015, cyclists had taken more than 1.75 million rides on Nice Ride wheels. Translation: bikers — despite looming frostbite, even in May — still want more. When you’re there, be sure to cruise over the Mississippi River, which divides the Twin Cities, for awesome skyline views. Grab an annual membership for $75, a 30-day pass for $18, or pay as you go.

Washington D.C.
In D.C., where high-profile professions like politics and law run the show, it’s a given that stress levels run high. And while signing up for the city’s Capital Bikeshare program might not be first on your trip to-do list, you may want to rethink your transportation strategy: a survey of 7,000 Capital Bikeshare members found that a third felt less stressed if they cycled to and from work. A bonus, if you’re juggling a full schedule (as work trips often go), is that Capital Bikeshare has 3,000 bikes and more than 375 stations so you can cruise D.C.’s 50-plus miles of bike lanes worry-free. Annual memberships cost $85 and D.C. has a gamut of pricing options, all the way down to an $8 daily fee.

Chicago
Who wouldn’t want to ride along Lake Michigan to work (or even as a way to decompress from the work day)? The Windy City has more than 200 miles of bike lanes and aims to provide a network of 645 miles by 2020. It launched its bike share program, Divvy, five years ago. Now with thousands of bikes and hundreds of kiosks, it’s on track to become the second largest bike share program in America. Perfect place for a bike commuter on a work trip? We think so. Purchase an annual membership for $99 or a 24-hour pass for only $10.

San Francisco
In this city, people are serious about two-wheeled transportation, and with year-round fairly decent weather, we can’t blame them. The city aims to have 20 percent of all travel done on bike by 2020. To forward this goal, Bay Area Bike Share launched three years ago with 700 bikes and dozens of kiosks around the wharf and financial district, giving key access to the BART system and transportation away from the peninsula. Grab a day pass for $9, a three-day pass (perfect for a quick work trip) at $22, or an annual membership for $88.

Author: Patty Hodapp