If you are visiting an urban area, chances are improving that you will be able to zip around the city on a bicycle, and for only a few bucks or less.
Branded various clever ways, bike sharing programs offer sturdy utility bicycles, often with comfortable riding geometry and handy features for errand-accomlishers like racks and baskets, at kiosks throughout their respective cities. Bikes may be checked out from one of these kiosks and returned to any other, making this one of the first modes of public transportation that will get you from A to B without having to make several stops along the way.
The advantages of bike share programs are many. The programs are cheap — a couple of dollars (or less — even zero dollars in some cases) will buy you enough time to get to you next destination, while even allowing for a stop or two along the way. Bike sharing allows you to keep your own bike parked at home, the maintenance also falls to someone else, and you will convert the lunch you just ate into caloric energy instead of allowing it to congeal into flabby muffin tops.
Cities in America with bike sharing programs include Washington DC, New York City, Boston, Charlotte, Denver, Houston, Madison, Chicago, Minneapolis, Miami Beach, Portland, Salt Lake City, and San Antonio, while several more programs are gearing up to launch in the next year or two.
In this BlinkPacker’s opinion, cities are best viewed from the perch of a bicycle saddle. Bikes are zippy enough to zoom you to your next stop and flexible enough to accommodate unexpected diversions without the hassle and expense of parking. Next time you are traveling, spend 30 seconds on a Google search to see if your destination offers a bike share program. And if so, brave the city streets and be surprised by all you see along the way.