Taking your own slow roll across Buffalo will be a more convenient and a little cheaper starting Thursday.
For a penny a minute, people will be able to rent one of the 200 new bikes that are part of Reddy Bikeshare. Nearly 30 bike stations are being established around the city, from the Outer Harbor to the south and Hertel Avenue to the north.
“We’re hoping to ignite or reignite a new love of biking among people who maybe haven’t been on one in a while,” said Jennifer White, the marketing and communications executive of Reddy Bikeshare.
Independent Health and Shared Mobility Inc. – the two groups partnering for the program -- began installing bike stations on Tuesday at Delaware Park and the Canalside. Additional bike stations will continue to be added through next week.
After a launch event at Delaware Park at 11 a.m. Thursday, several these stations go live, which means anyone can start by downloading the Social Bicycles app on any smartphone and creating an account.
You can reserve a bike from your smartphone or by walking up to a station and typing an account ID number into the rear panel of an available bike.
Then, you’re free to take the bikes wherever within city limits.
The cost begins at a penny a minute, with hourly passes at $8.50 hour for a month and group pass at $20 per hour for four riders for a month and an annual pas for $55.
The bikes can be locked up at any of the bike share stations or public bike racks, unlike similar bike share programs in New York City where they must be locked to a specific docking site.
The bikes will track calories burned, distance traveled, ride duration, estimated reduction in carbon dioxide and a calculation of money saved instead of driving.
White said Buffalo is feasible for a bike share program because of its infrastructure (aka its flatness), density and bike lanes, not to mention the increasing biking interest from the community with events like Slow Roll and Skyride, for which the program might supply bikes.
A pilot program began at the University of Buffalo four years ago, and more than 800 people signed up.
Other bike share programs are beginning around the county, including Portland, which White said is considered the biking capital of the nation. The addition of the program in the city, White said, is “further evidence of the growth and development of Buffalo.”
“We have seen such a huge culture shift in just the past five years alone in regards to biking as a form of transportation, recreation and exercise,” she said. “We love it.”