On November 1st, Coast Bike Share St. Pete launched with 100 demo bikes throughout downtown, spread across 10 hubs. This great idea really helps tourist and locals see more of downtown in an eco-friendly way, additionally now that the weather is getting cooler what a great time to hop on a bike.
Last Friday, my friend Amanda and I decided to give the bikes a try! First the weather on Friday was pretty much Chamber of Commerce kind of weather, amazing low humidity and perfect temps! Amanda doesn’t have her own bike so we thought we would just rent the Coast Bikes. The hubs are pretty easy to find throughout downtown St. Pete and while there are only 10 now, the city plans to expand to 30 by the beginning of 2017! 30 hubs throughout the city seems pretty huge! We started at the hub in front of the Vinoy and realized that you need to put an app on your phone in order to rent the bike. If you are going to borrow the bikes, download their app first, Social Bicycles, using your GPS in your phone the app knows which hub you are near or guides you to the nearest hub. Having used other bike share programs and this was probably my least favorite part of our program, but having the app and allowing it to track you as you ride is pretty handy when trying to find a nearby hub.
Next you choose a bike, each bike has it’s own computer on the back, the app generates an account number and pin and you type that into the back of the bike. You pre-buy the time you are going to use your bike, any excess time is stored in your account for your next adventure. The bike’s computer keeps track of your distance and time and deducts the money from your balance. The bikes rent for $8 per hour, with savings if you want to borrow them more regularly. Each bike also comes with it’s own front basket which is great for holding your purse or lunch (what a great way to grab lunch downtown without having to worry about parking!!). The bikes are pretty light, the seats adjustable and they are belt driven which means you don’t have to worry about the chain falling off somewhere along the way, plus if your bike is defective, just drop it at the next hub and pick up another one. Each bike also comes equipped with a sturdy lock that allows you to lock it in place should you run into a store or lock it back to any of the hubs when your adventure has ended. The app lists the closest hub to you when you are finished with your adventure. We told ourselves that if we biked too far, we would drop them at a hub and head back to downtown via an Uber!
Overall, it was a great way to enjoy a beautiful afternoon, the downtown waterfront is truly a reason to slow down and enjoy where we live. If you are a visitor to our area you can cover a lot of ground on these bikes and really get a feel for exactly what a great place St. Pete is! Best of all, the Pinellas trail is completely accommodating for bicycles, it heads west to east all along 1st Avenue South and makes for a safe lane for bicyclists!
Have you tried the Coast Bike Share St. Pete yet?