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Bike Share Program By the Bay

Cycle Ladies and Gents of Bike Commuters, please give a warm welcome to our newest staff writer and lady commuter… Emily Shellabarger (a.k.a. Shelly, to Mir.I.Am) commuting in the Bay Area, California! While Emily warms up her fingertips for some intense keyboard-slamming action for 2014, here’s a little guest post to give you a taste of the new bike share program in the Bay Area.

San Franciscans have watched enviously as bike share programs started cropping up in other metropolitan areas from New York to Washington DC, London to Paris. Finally, our turn came this summer with the much anticipated launch of the Bay Area Bike Share program. The network of bikes and docking stations spans the peninsula from San Francisco to San Jose, spattering a handful of cities between the two “San” bookends.

bay aear bike share

Personally, I was stoked to see the chunky, seafoam green bikes arrive in San Francisco––in particular, the double rack right next to the 4th & King street train station, which I visit daily on my commute down the peninsula. The docking racks have been strategically planted near various CalTrain stops to facilitate the last leg of a car-less commute, including my stop in Redwood City. I thought, “I must be the target user!” and wasted no time formulating my shared-bike commute plans.

Redwood City Caltrain Station

Bay Area Bike Share at the Caltrain Station in Redwood City… Look at them, so SEAFOAMY!

With further investigation I discovered both my homebase in the foggy city and my nine-to-five destination are not in the Bike Share network! Oh-so-close, but not close enough. The bike coverage is fairly limited both in San Francisco and the peninsula outlets. However, if you’re looking to ride within a confined radius or run a quick out-and-back errand, the shared bike option will do you just fine.

Bay Area Bike Share Locations

See the little Shelly on the map? Now how to get that Shelly down to the little building in the Peninsula, without bike hauling on and off the Caltrain… Bay Area Bike Share = sadly, almost there.

Currently, the San Francisco peninsula geographic expanse is served by only 70 sations with 700 bikes––doesn’t seem like enough, especially considering 35 of those stations are in San Francisco alone. Luckily, the program will bump up to 100 stations with 1,000 bikes this coming year, adding more stations in San Francisco’s most bikeable neighborhoods and a few more peninsula cities. My neighborhood isn’t on the list yet, but the neighborhood expansion is a start. For now, I’ll have to stick with hauling my bike on and off the CalTrain and save the shared bikes for special trips.

Bay Area Bike Share Locations Peninsula

Errrrrckkkkk. (Squeaky brake sound.) So close, but not enough stations yet to merit leaving Stallion behind.

Well, it sounds like everyone has to start somewhere, let’s hope the Bay Area Bike Share is responsive to user feedback, so we can all high-five for another successful bike share on the map. I felt the same way when I visited San Francisco last time… no bikes anywhere near my sister’s place in the Mission, but it makes more sense that the program is targeted towards Peninsula commuters. Any readers out there had a chance to try out the system? Let us know in the comments box, below!

Guest Article: Eric Smith-First Bike Commute of 2008

Eric Smith answered our altar call and sent us his article…

I work as an IT manager. That means I sit in front of a computer all day. I talk on the phone, and occasionally I get up to get coffee, or attend a meeting, where once again, I sit. Needless to say, this does wonders for my metabolism. Now, keep in mind, my body chemistry craves potato-chiptides, Godiva-flavins, and a good dose of Donutium to feel good – and from time to time I give in. All the more reason why, after a couple months without riding in the bitter cold and snow, I am desperate to start riding again. It helps offset the effect of the Big-Mactates in my body, or rather on my body.

So, after getting my new Giant OCR-1 road bike this past Friday, and knowing the afternoon temps would be around 48°F I decided to brave the 28°F morning temperature this morning. After about 20 minutes of riding my hands and fingers warmed up a bit, but it took about 30 minutes after the ride for me to feel my toes again.

This is also my first time riding with clipless pedals. I have about 10 intersections or so that I need to stop at, and several areas where drivers wait at the red light so close the the curb that I have to do the one-foot-pushoff thing to get by them. So, all in all I have quickly learned to get in and out of them – and it’s not really much harder than the Power-Grips I had used on my Gary Fisher Tiburon last year.

Going from a Hybrid to a good road bike is incredible! Even though I was fairly loaded down this morning with a big heavy chain and other things I needed to bring to work, I was amazed at how much easier it was to climb the hills – and that’s on my first commute of the year – completely out of shape! I can only imagine how much more enjoyable the commute is going to be in the spring and summer months! For casual riding, the Tiburon is very comfortable, but for 30+ mile round-trip commuting, it was getting pretty hard to carry all the extra weight…

So, once again, I am very glad to be commuting by bike, saving on gas and auto expenses, getting in better shape, going green, and doing my part to ease congestion for my fellow man. Now all I have to do is lay off the Pop-Tartomins and I’ll be all set!

Want to be part of our Guest Articles, send us your stuff to INFO AT BikeCommuters DOT com.