May 15 2013

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Vacation bike sharing 101

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Bike sharing is popular in European countries too, such as this one in Spain. Photo: iStockphoto

Bike sharing is popular in Europe too, such as this one in Madrid. Photo: iStockphoto

Cities around the world have been creating bike sharing programs to give residents and tourists alike a convenient, inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to travel. These programs provide communal bicycles that can be rented for short rides or long rambles and they often allow one-way trips. Bike sharing is an excellent opportunity for visitors to see a city in a new way without the cost and commitment of a long-term bike rental.

Several cities in the United States have gotten on the biking bandwagon and launched sharing programs of their own. Here are a few of the best American cities to visit by bike.

This month New York City launches the nation’s largest bike sharing program with 6,000 bikes at 330 stations. For only $10 a day, riders will be allowed to take as many short rides as they want and they can return bikes to any station, not just the one they rented from. While New York traffic might be intimidating, the city has built 300 miles of bike lanes and 200 additional miles of greenways and park trails to provide safe places to ride.

Washington, D.C.  has also made huge efforts to become a bike-friendly city. The number of bike commuters in the capital has doubled in the past five years, meaning lots of bike lanes and a well-established bike culture. Visitors can use the Capital Bikeshare program to zip from monument to monument or even travel to the nearby cities of Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia.

Another city that’s serious about cycling? Boulder, Colorado. Local businesses are encouraged to put out bike racks and even offer discounts to those on two wheels. The local B-Cycle program makes it easy for out-of-towners to zip through the city’s center and enjoy the top-notch bicycle network.

More About: Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith is a writer, traveler and lover of cities currently living in Austin, Texas. Follow her on Twitter at @shameonseamus.
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Posted on: May 15, 2013 | Tags: , , | Category: Travel Tips

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