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B-Cycle gets a B+

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Sharing is caring and Broward County cares about its citizens and the environment.

Less than three years ago, Broward County introduced the B-cycle program in Hollywood, Ft. Lauderdale and Pompano Beach.

B-cycle is a bike-share program similar to that of New York City, Boston, and San Francisco.

The whole idea behind the bike-share system is to encourage car users to use bikes more often to improve their health and reduce their carbon foot print.

I finally got to take one of these bikes for a spin earlier in the week. Despite some Yelp reviews, checking out the bike was simple.

Carry you plastic because you can only pay with a credit or debit card.

The kiosk will ask for you cell number to send text messages tracking the time you’ve been using the bike so you can keep record of how much you’re spending.

The return process is even easier; just pop your bike back into an empty spot at any B-cycle station, wait for the beep, and you’re good to go.

There is an app available for download on Google Play and the App Store that lets you find the nearest B-cycle station with available bikes for rent or open spots for returns.

Things I love about the bike: no cross-bar, convenient basket attached, easily adjustable seat and a little bell.

Things I didn’t love about the bike: Very corroded break wires, break pads in need of replacement, the bike itself was a bit heavy.

B-cycle stations are located all along the coast from Hallandale to Pompano Beach with one or two stations popping up west of US1. That’s probably because the beach it’s a safer place to ride and people are more likely to do so. Maybe in the future we will see some farther inland.

The price-tag on these shared bikes for non-members is a bit in the high side. You will be charged five dollars automatically for the first 30 minutes even if you don’t ride for 30 minutes and five dollars for each additional half hour.

If you drive to the beach and have your own bike BRING IT. Otherwise you will end up paying parking and a bike rental. If you can’t avoid driving to the beach and have your heart set on cruising the coast on two wheels but don’t own a pair, rent a bike at one of the shops on the Hollywood Broadwalk. New Age Cycles will rent you a bike for a whole day for just $20.

B-cycle membership is $25 for a 7-day membership and for $20 more, an annual one. Membership has the benefit of reduced rates and free rides. If your ride lasts less than half an hour, it’s on the house and each additional half hour is a dollar. It’s a deal if you think you’ll find yourself using these bikes often. Additionally some businesses offer discounts when you show the B-cycle member card.

On the whole, I like the B-cycle system. It promotes biking, (which you already know I’m pro) it gets people moving and it’s eco-friendly. I recommend using this system and getting a membership if you live on the beach or if you’re a tourist visiting our lovely beaches. For those of us that stay farther inland, it’s not an economically viable option. At least for now.

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