Bike share programs have become more and more popular across the country as folks look for ways to get active, beat traffic and save the planet. They work by allowing you to rent a bicycle for a short period of time to ride between stations or return to the same one. Nashville’s offering is run by BCycle, a Madison, Wisconsin-based company that operates in more than 30 cities across the country. The program is automated, with the check-out, check-in and payment processes happening either at the kiosk or on your phone.
How much does it cost?
You can pay for a 24-hour, weekly, monthly or yearly pass. If you want to try it out, you can go to any kiosk in town and buy a $5 day pass. The other passes are available on their website to order.
There is a catch, though — all the passes include the first hour of use for free. Each additional half-hour costs $1.50, with a $45 a day maximum. You need to check the bike back in every hour to avoid this charge, so you will want to plan your trips accordingly.
Pro-tip: BYOH (bring your own helmet)
The bicycles don’t come with a helmet, so you should plan on bringing your own. You can grab one from Amazon Prime Now for about $20. You will see folks riding around town without a helmet, but for the sake of protecting your noggin and your entire life, we recommend you wear one.
Finding BCycle stations
There are more than 30 stations in and around downtown, with a handful in East Nashville, Metrocenter and Sylvan Park. You can download the BCycle app to find stations as well as expedite the checkout process and manage your account.
Getting the bike and going
The checkout process is pretty straightforward. If this is your first time and you do not have a membership, grab your credit card and go to the kiosk and follow the prompts. After you have followed all the prompts, the dock will beep until you remove the bicycle. If you already have a membership card, tap it on the dock or use the mobile app until it beeps. Congratulations, the bike is yours for the next hour!
Use the included lock if you go inside
It costs about $1,200 to replace one of these bikes! Fortunately, there is a built-in lock and key on the bike that can be used with any legal bicycle rack for when you need to go inside for something or would rather walk around for a bit.
Returning the bike
There is a bit of a trick to this part — you can only return the bicycle if there’s an available dock. If you arrive at a station and the dock is full, use the kiosk to add an extra 15 minutes for free. This should be enough time (hopefully) to ride to another station with spaces open. If all else fails, call the customer service line at (615) 625-2153 and they can help you out of a jam.
Photo by Chris Wage.