by Tyson Bottenus
As a cyclist, I’ve followed the rise of bikeshare with an ambivalent attitude.
Overall, it’s great. More bikes! Maybe, I used to think to myself, this will mean more people will choose biking for transportation. This might mean cities will install more protected bike lanes which inevitably helps me in the end. So yeah, in the past it’s fair to say I was all about bike share for other people.
But recently, I’ve come to find that Hubway is awesome, especially if you have a bike (or bikes). So to combat this “Hubway is only for people who don’t own a bike” philosophy in mind, here are five reasons why you should get yourself a year-long membership and join the movement.
- Bikes are only good as long as you have them with you.
My attitude towards Hubway changed the day I inexplicably didn’t have my bike with me. Yeah, I know, you’re probably like me and ride your bike everywhere. But sometimes, your friend picks you up in that car he or she still has and then you need go somewhere else and they can’t give you a ride and THEN WHAT.
A 24-hour pass costs $8 and you can ride as far and as often as you’d like provided the ride is under 30 minutes. If you go over 30 minutes, you get charged a little more, but to avoid these fees all you have to do is park your Hubway and activate another one. Boom! Timer reset.
I downloaded the Hubway app the first time I found myself without a bike and the process took mere minutes on my smartphone. Unlocking a bike was incredibly easy. To be honest, when I first used Hubway, I thought I was only going to use it once. But then the next week I found myself without a bike again and had to purchase another 24-hour pass. Whatever, I thought, it’s cheaper than a Lyft.
After the third or fourth 24-hour pass that I bought, I decided right then and there to purchase a year-long membership for $99.
- Because sometimes you need the freedom of a one-way trip.
Ever woken up, checked the weather, and found out that it was gonna be fine in the morning but a total mess in the evening? You want to ride into work, but not home. Or ever ridden far out to a friend’s place and get offered a ride back but they don’t have a bike rack on their darn car? Or ever made plans with someone who doesn’t ride bikes (Muggles, I know) and want to ride to meet up with them but take a different way back? Ever planned to go out drinking? A LOT? Whatever the reason, Hubway gives you the delicious liberty of a one-way trip. You’re not locked into biking both ways, and can pick and choose your mobility methods in this multimodal metropolis we call home.
- Because ice and snow hurt your trusty steed and the cost of a year-long membership to Hubway costs the same as two studded bike tires. There’s over 1,800 Hubway bikes in operation and this is the first winter that most of them will be live in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville.
Biking in the winter can be a pain. Your drive train gets all gunked up with road salt and mud, your tires are never wide enough, and it’s cold. But with more and more areas making a concerted effort to plow out bike lanes these days, biking in the winter can be fun. For starters, a little exercise in the winter months never hurts and gets the blood flowing.
To protect the trusty steed, some people have a dedicated “winter beater.” Usually they’re sacrificial clunkers, but some folks spend money on studded tires, bar mitts, etc. But let’s say you’re cheap and you don’t have the time to build up an additional bike. What should you do instead? Answer: get yourself a Hubway membership. PROBLEM SOLVED.
Back in 2011, when Hubway first started, there were only 610 bikes. Since then, that number has tripled. It’s going to expand even more next spring. Even better, this winter will feature the most extensive winter operations yet. All stations in Boston, Brookline, Somerville, and Cambridge (with a few exceptions) will be open year-round and won’t go into “hibernation” like they did in previous winters.
- You’ll stop worrying about locks and lights and that rear fender that keeps hitting the tire.
Don’t know about you, but every now and then my LED lights run out of battery. And I’m guilty of not checking my tire pressure before work. And sure, even though I have a reliable lock, there’s no way I’d ever leave my velobabies out all night, or outside a downtown music venue for 4+ hours. Once you get on Hubway, you never have to worry about your bike. Simultaneously you can also take comfort in the fact that there are 1,800 bikes all around the city waiting for you.
And sure, Hubways might be heavy, but boy are they indestructible. Puncture-resistant tires, chain guard, front and rear fenders, three-speed internal shifting – these bikes ain’t gonna crap out on you mid-ride. The braking mechanism is hidden inside the frame so it’s not affected by rain. Of all the rides I’ve been on, the only problem I’ve experienced was a slightly-tweaked pedal. To solve the problem, all I had to do was switch it out with another Hubway that I found in a dock less than a mile away.
- Their customer service is pretty awesome.
A little embarrassing, but the one time I goofed up with Hubway was when I returned a bike but forgot to make sure that it was fully secured in the dock. Typically, what they tell you is to wait until the light on the dock goes “green” and then ensure on your phone that your ride has been completed. Being in a hurry, I forgot to do all these things. A few hours later, they sent me an email letting me know that my bike hadn’t been returned. Four hours later, I managed to track the bike down and return it properly.
I called Hubway’s customer service to let them know I was an idiot and while I expected to be excoriated for my foolishness, the fellow on the other end of the line gave me a break. I think I paid a few dollars for keeping the bike over 30 minutes. It was nominal. And whatever, it taught me a lesson.
That lesson? Hubway rules.