Switching Gears – Bike Share in Albany

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I had this notion for a long time that using a bike to get around Albany was not the best idea. I live within walking distance from a lot of areas in the city and enjoy bringing my dog to as many places as I can. After spending some time using CDPHP® Cycle!SM, I realize how silly that notion was.

I planned to use the bike-share program for a weekend, jumping around to events, restaurants, museums, and to explore. Spoiler alert – we are now avid users of shared bikes and instead of just a weekend, we constantly use them to get around town.

Here are some thoughts after using CDPHP Cycle!:

1.Great for people who live in Albany (or Troy or Schenectady or Saratoga)
I always thought the bikes would be better for someone coming in for a weekend to explore, but I enjoy these immensely as a resident living in Albany. A ride from my house to most of the spots I visit averages under $1.50. The ability to head around town, drop off a bike, and explore is a true advantage.

2. Avoiding event and festival traffic
The first time we used CDPHP Cycle! was during Tulip Festival. Typically, I would walk to the park, but riding the bikes saved time and helped us avoid the traffic and parking nightmares we would have encountered if we had driven.

3. On hold versus docking
The on-hold option lasts for just under 30 minutes, which is fine for a quick trip into a place, but not long enough if you’re planning on having a sit down meal or touring a museum. Luckily, there are so many bike stations around that it’s not hard to find a place to park the bike. Or, you can lock up the bike outside of a hub for an additional $2.

4. Albany has hills?
From running around many Albany hills, I was already aware that there would be some tough climbs. I didn’t quite realize how tricky it would be on a bike. This is where bike sharing is a great advantage. Have a hill you don’t want to climb with a bike? Drop it off at a hub at the bottom of the street and pick up a new one at the top to avoid paying for time when you’re walking instead of riding.

5. Expanded locations = more fun
There were less hubs last year, and very few near some of my favorite parts of Albany (like Broadway). So if I wanted to go to Lost & Found or Nine Pin, I’d have to walk a mile and a half between picking up a bike and dropping it off, which didn’t seem worth it. Now that there are more stations, the time spent getting to places sans bike has been greatly reduced.

6. Quick learning curve
I thought downloading the app and figuring out how everything worked would be complicated, but it was seamless!

7. Ability to reduce costs even more
If you find a bike out of a hub, you can add it to a hub and $1 will be credited to your account. The popular hubs are usually freer during the weekend. This is a great opportunity for weekend users to find bikes close to hubs and put them back for additional credits. Sure, it’s not a huge moneymaker, but it’s a nice way to lower costs.

CDPHP Cycle bike hub

8. And some more on reduced costs
In the past, when I went out for dinner or a couple of drinks, I used a ride sharing app like Lyft to get there and back. Now, with the addition of bike sharing, I can pick up a bike, drop it near a restaurant or bar, then Lyft or even bus home to save on costs.

9. Happier about local public transit
I love being able to access and use public transit as much as possible, especially as an Albany resident. I’d rather use public transit during the workweek, too, but based on where I live and work, even though I’m on a major bus line, what takes 10 minutes by car would take over an hour by bus. At least CDPHP Cycle! allows me to leverage public transit on weeknights and weekends!

10. More active
Albany has very walkable neighborhoods, but the city overall isn’t the easiest to get around without a car or public transit. Adding bike sharing has allowed me to park my car for longer and peddle my way through very short commutes. As someone enjoys running, it’s nice to “switch gears” and do something active without feeling like I’m really doing something active.

Riding a CDPHP Cycle bike through Albany

When I started this journey, I was adamant I would use CDPHP Cycle! for a weekend, then borrow one of my girlfriend’s bikes that’s sitting in the basement the next time I wanted to ride. Instead, we’re now both frequent users of CDPHP Cycle! and really enjoy how easy and convenient it’s been to get around.

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