by Keila Chaliotis, Staff Writer
Biking as a means of transportation has been steadily blowing up worldwide. And as society adapts to this growing trend, cities around the world are slowly starting to adapt to their need to be a part of this safer, cleaner and healthier means of transportation.
The idea of bike sharing has been around for many years now. Big cities in states like New york, New Jersey, Florida, and California have only recently put to use this new means of transportation program, although the idea of cities offering citizens bikes to share has been a popular trend for some time worldwide. From the moment this new means of transportation took off ’til present day, the Hangzhou bicycle program in China is the largest bicycle system functioning worldwide with 61,000 bicycles and over 2,400 stations. The countries to follow up with the most systems are, Spain, Italy, and Germany.
This program has brought good news to those worried about traffic jams in over populated cities. Many have realized that apart from helping cut down on traffic, it is also helping people cut down on fat!
The idea of citywide bike sharing originated in and was founded in Amsterdam by Luud Schimmelpennink, managing director of the Innovation Center in Amsterdam. Luud is an industrial designer who has had a long life passion for sustainable transit. He introduced the bike share program to the public in the 1960’s. The program was then known as the “White Bike Scheme.” Now there are many bike sharing programs such as Citi Bike from NY, Capital Bike share from Washington, D.C., and many more in various main cities of the US.
Aside from helping keep cities safe, clean, and reducing traffic jams. Bike sharing is the perfect and entertaining way to help those early morning birds, that barely have time to hit the gym after late hours of work, keep up with their fitness. Rather than spend time in a commuter train or, worse, driving to work, riding a bike to and from work or school is a way to kill two birds with one stone – commuting and cardio.
Bike riding is a good way to burn off fat, build a better respiratory system, and create a better flow of blood through your artery system. Sixty minutes to ninety minutes of bike riding per day is more than enough time to get a good workout. The best thing of it all, is that you won’t even feel the workout, because you’ll find yourself entertained with the nice architectural structures and friendly people of your home city which, you probably have never noticed existed while driving around in your car or riding on the city subway.
Bike share bikes are heavy, sturdy, easy to ride, and simple to adjust for fit. These bikes are only three gears since they are not built for speed. They are safe to ride. Each bike comes with bright front and rear lights that work even when the bike comes to a full stop at an intersection. To make your riding experiences safer, suggest the following tips:
1.) Follow your city rules accordingly to the city and state in which you live.
2.) Plan your exercising route and timing carefuly.
3.) Check to see that your bike is intact and that wheels are good on air.
4.) Wear a helmet and any other nike gear that can keep you from serious injuries if any falls you may have.
5.) Last of all, bike smart and enjoy the work-out!
One sixth of the world’s population has come to the use of this new and brilliant idea. Stats from 2011 showed that 375 systems are operational in 33 countries, consisting of 236,000 bicycles. So, if you are one of those early morning birds without the time to keep fit, what are you waiting for? There is a bike share ride waiting for you. Jump on, take off, and start with your fitness life!
Just how can you become part of this international bike share community? Easy! Log-on to any of the bike share websites, subscribe yourself, pay the daily, weekly, monthly, or annual fee, and get started. The program is cheap and affordable. Prices range from $9.95, to $95.00, but the prices mainly depend on the time limit for which you’d like to use the program.
Bike share provides cities with stations from which you can choose your start and end point. So there is no need to carry those annoying locks or chains, nor worry about finding a safe place to leave your bike. Just pick your choice of bike, swipe your card, and enjoy the ride!