Bike Share in Tampa

I recently took a trip out to Tampa for the day and learned about the exciting concept of bike share! For those not familiar, a bike share is system with stations scattered throughout a central area, where people can rent a bike from one and return it at another.

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A Tampa Bike Share Station

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The Historic Orlando Amtrak Station

The first bicycle sharing system began in Europe in the 60’s and came to America in 1994. Since then, over 80 cities in the U.S. have begun bike share systems. These range from the biggest, like New York, Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles, to the those of medium and small size, like Orlando, Louisville, Sacramento, and Oklahoma City. Today I was going to test bike share out. I started off my trip by hopping on Sunrail, Orlando’s commuter rail system, and getting off at the Orlando Amtrak station.

A Shady Place to Rest

Shady Place to Rest on Riverwalk

After a two hour Amtrak ride, I arrived in downtown Tampa, blocks away from delicious restaurants, intriguing museums, and a gorgeous riverwalk. Renting a bike was easy. First, I had to set up an account, which I did quickly on my phone. I paid $5 for an hour, but other options include $30 for a month and $79 for a year. There were many stations scattered throughout the city. Simply walk up to one, put in your account number, and pull it out. With longer memberships, your own keycard makes this ultra-convenient. I unlocked a bike and rode around downtown for an hour.

A Convenient Basket for My Bag

Unfortunately, many of Tampa’s roads seemed to have been designed strictly for the movement of cars, with wide expressway-like features that are completely inappropriate in urban areas. Car-focused speed limits and lots of lanes encourage higher speeds, which endangers people walking, biking, and driving. Tampa has some decent cycling infrastructure though, with several bike lanes and a gorgeous riverwalk.

The Tampa Riverwalk

The Tampa Riverwalk

After exploring the city, I simply returned the bike to my nearest station. Bike share is easy, convenient, and fun. It unlocks the power of one-way trips, and completes transit systems by providing for that last mile. I’m very glad these systems are sprouting up quickly all over the U.S. and the world.

Tampa Skyline

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