CEC is excited to welcome new member Houston BCycle. Houston BCycle is a bicycle sharing system powered by Houston Bike Share, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that administers bike sharing for the City of Houston. Houston BCycle’s mission is to provide equitable access to bike share that fosters recreation, mobility and personal wellness. They envision a Houston where everyone has access to a bike for work, play and transportation. Providing a healthy transportation option, reducing traffic congestion, reducing carbon emissions, and improving air quality are big motivators for this new CEC member organization. As they say at Houston BCycle, “Skip the traffic, breathe, and see your city on two wheels.”
Houston BCycle launched in May 2012 with just 18 bikes at three stations and, since then, has grown rapidly to 1,300 bikes at 127 stations as of May 2021. The organization experienced a 45% jump in rides from 2018 to 2019, when riders took 236,000+ trips. Interest in biking skyrocketed during Covid restrictions, with people needing additional transportation options as well as outlets to be active in a safe and socially distanced manner. March 2020, the first month of Houston’s stay-at-home order, BCycle saw a record 26,000 bike trips! Houston BCycle reacted quickly to the health crisis with policies to sanitize bikes and equipment at stations as well as in the mechanic shop. Houston BCycle also sent riders reminders to wash hands before and after riding and socially distance at bike stations and on rides. In fact, Houston BCycle became so popular during 2020 that some of the most favored stations were temporarily closed during the worst of the outbreak to prevent overcrowding!
Later in 2020, Houston BCycle introduced a fleet of 125 e-bikes, also known as pedal-assist electric bikes, which give riders a little push for bike trails, lanes, streets, and more. Because of the electric assist, e-bikes make biking more accessible for people who need a stepping stone into biking, such as new riders or seniors. E-bikes are better for the environment than cars and are a great financial choice given that electric bikes are about three times less expensive to operate than cars.
May is Bike Month, and Houston BCycle has been hosting lots of fun events, including Tour de Mural East End Ride, Buffalo Bayou East Bike Tour, BCycle PopUps at various stations, Bike for the Health of it Ride, Wellness on Wheels, 5th Ward Story Ride, and Bike to Wherever Day on May 21 when everyone can get a free ride. Read about upcoming events–including the Midtown Houston Art Crawl + Bike Ride–at houstonbcycle.com.
Programs at Houston BCycle consist of bike sharing, BCycle Bites, an Ambassador Program and GO Pass.
- Bike Share is simple: rent, ride, dock the bike. Riders can rent a bike as a Guest or as a Member. Guest rides are $3 per 30 minutes (e-bikes extra). Memberships are available annually ($79/year) or monthly ($13/month). Students and staff at local Houston colleges and universities receive discounted rates. Bikes can be checked out at any station kiosk or with the BCycle app, which is a convenient way to check bike availability, directions to stations and even track your miles ridden, calories burned, etc. In addition, Houston BCycle is connected to a nationwide network of BCycles and stations in other cities, where reciprocal membership is honored.
- BCycle Bites is a partner program that connects BCycle Members with local restaurants and bars near BCycle stations. Members get discounts and local, bike-friendly businesses attract patrons. It’s a win-win! Read about it here.
- BCycle’s Ambassador Program consists of 12 volunteers who focus on different parts of town to “help get butts on bikes in Houston.” The volunteer Ambassadors receive a year of free bike share in exchange for volunteering to complete at least eight BCycle community engagement activities throughout the year. Ambassadors spread the word about bike share by hosting events, rides, and tabling at community get-togethers, among other things.
- GO Pass is a bike equity program that offers special membership pricing for qualified Houstonians who need financial assistance with bike share membership fees. The GO Pass offers a significant savings at only $3 per month, with cash payment available. GO Pass members are full members of Houston BCycle, with all the benefits of membership such as use of all 127+ stations in the Houston BCycle network. (As of Spring 2021, the program is on hold due to the pandemic.) Discounted membership is also available for students and staff at local colleges.
And, of course, Houston BCycle supports community bike rides and bike safety events. Many of the events are guided tours that are a great way to explore a new part of town or local park. Find a ride here.