|This Long Beach Bike Share station at 3rd Street and the Promenade lets you take off directly onto a parking-protected bike lane!|
I was in Downtown Long Beach the other day and saw some sweet sweet bike share action! First things first though: "bike share" is kind of a misnomer. Long Beach Bike Share is sharing bikes with you in the same sense that my landlord is "sharing" an apartment with me. Really, this is a network of automated bike rental stations. You can download the Social Bicycles smartphone app and use it to rent a bike and then return it at another station within the service area (or pay extra if you lock it up somewhere that isn't a bike share station). KPCC ran a story on the system's launch recently. Apparently the startup funds are from a $2.3 million grant from LA County Metro, pennies in comparison to what we spend on highways and transit projects.
I haven't actually tried it yet, but I plan to soon. This could be really useful if you want a bike Downtown but don't feel like stuffing one onto a train or into a car. The pricing strongly favors having a monthly plan, which you can do for as little as $15 per month (which includes one hour per day of rides). Otherwise, you can rent a bike for $3.50 per half hour with a $7 minimum or get four hours for $21, according to the website. I'll probably start with the $3.50 per half hour thing and see how it goes. Downtown Long Beach, where the system is centered, has two parking-protected bike lanes, one of which you can see in the photo above, plus great opportunities to bike on the beach or along the LA River, so you don't have to be a road warrior to feel comfortable biking around the area. This is exciting, so stay tuned!