Tag Archives: bike share

Day Trippin’ with Austin B-Cycle

Photo: Austin B-Cycle

It’s SXSW time now in Austin.  Bikes and visitors are everywhere downtown and the local bike share, B-cycle, is helping to keep people moving.  For SXers seeking a little local sightseeing along with their panels, music, freebies and general SX insanity, B-cycle has a couple of local “daytrips“.  First up is the Summer Route: Austin Art Walls (Google map) that rides past at least six murals and you’re bound to see that many more on the eastside.

The Spring Route: Ann and Roy Butler Hike & Bike Trail (Google map) takes you around Austin’s crown jewel, Lady Bird Lake (nee “Town Lake“) on the much loved hike and bike trail.  The trail has been recently expanded with several boardwalks, although the official route bypasses the quieter section east of I-35.

Elsewhere on B-cycle’s website is this Best of Austin Tour which visits the core of Austin, from the Capitol south to the Ann Richards Bridge, famous for being home to the largest urban bat colony in North America.

So, take a break from panel talks, dark bars, impossible traffic and ride Austin.

Bike Tours by Bike Share

The USA Today has posted an article about using bike share programs for touring cites: Great Urban Rides:  Bike-share Itineraries for Visitors.

They have a paragraph or so for New York, Boston, Chicago, D.C., San Francisco, Columbus, Toronto, Chattanooga, and Portland.

It’s a great idea, particularly for the “accidental” tourist who may have a very limited time window to explore.  We’d definitely add BTBT’s San Antonio ride to the list.  For that matter, any city with bike share is a candidate.  If you have an hour or two free in a new city, check it out!

Murals and Bike Tours – Is This a Thing?

We hope so, it’s a perfect combination.

Remember the Miami Art Crawl we mentioned back in January?  It seems that things are warming up enough in Philadelphia to follow suit.  This Saturday, there’s a Mural Arts Tours 2016 Spring Launch Event featuring a couple of bike tours (free) and a walking tour ($22).  Spots are going fast, so sign up now.

The tours will be lead by Philadelphia Eagles DE Connor Barwin.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that there are any regularly scheduled mural bike tours.  But the event is cosponsored by Philly’s bike share, Indego…..so maybe that will be changing?

On A Mission

San Antonio has recently completed major upgrades and extensions to the original downtown Riverwalk which is very much focused on food and fun.  The Eagleland segment extends the pedestrian portion of the Riverwalk to the Blue Star Complex.  The Mission Reach Trail starts here and provides cyclists and walkers access to four historic missions, recreational facilities, picnic tables, and views of river wildlife in a semi-urban setting.  North of downtown, the Museum Reach Trail is nearing completion for access to several museums and the zoo.

I rode from the Blue Star Complex to the southern end of the Mission Trail and back on a perfect February afternoon in Texas.  In addition to visiting all of the well cared for missions, I spotted a pair of golden eagles, numerous turtles, ducks and other water fowl as well as a large snake.

 

Blue Star Bicycling
Blue Star Bicycling

Although I brought my bike from Austin, there are B-Cycle stations located at all of the missions as well as many of the road intersections.  B-Cycle would be ideal for short rides between two or three missions.  But the bikes are fairly heavy and the trail was hillier than expected.  If you intend on riding the full length, consider renting a bike from Blue Star Bicycling Company located in the Blue Star Complex at the north end of the trail.  From there, if you visit all four missions, plan on riding about 22 miles.

Of course, you don’t have to ride the entire length.  The trail is well marked and has frequent picnic tables, shelters, and water fountains, as well as easy access to local businesses.  Lingering at the missions and parks, you could easily make a day of it or just spend a couple of hours riding out and back.  Or just ride a few miles and enjoy this treasure that San Antonio has provided us.

Finally, after your ride, you might like to enjoy one of San Antonio’s oldest brewpubs, Blue Star Brewing Company:

The Blue Star Brewing Company was one of the first brewpubs in San Antonio that has been serving their uniquely brewed beer and food since 1996. Shortly after opening The Blue Star Brewing Company, owner Joey Villarreal and his wife Magdalena opened the Blue Star Bike Shop within the walls of the amazing brewery, and later moved to its very own location right next door. The Blue Star Brewing Company offers organic brew and a selection of locally sourced food, The Blue Star Brewing Company is the place to relax and enjoy a well crafted meal before or after an adventurous bike ride on the trails.

Tell them Been There Bike Tours sent you!

e place to relax and enjoy a well crafted meal before or after an adventures bike ride on the trails.

Bike These 3 Cities This Summer

Takepart suggests Nashville, DC, and Chicago for bike tours this summer:

Whether your motivation is to free your sightseeing from the stress of traffic, see a city from a new perspective, save the planet, or just save yourself from exorbitant hotel parking charges, one of the best ways to go green when traveling is to ditch the car. While that’s not possible everywhere, it’s the perfect way to experience these three cities, which have made easy-access biking a priority for visitors as well as residents.

BeenThereBikeTours just rode Green Fleet’s Signature Tour in Nashville a couple of weeks ago.   We also had a chance to ride Chicago’s Divvy a few months ago, but we’ll have to get to work on visiting DC and Chi-town for these tours.

 

Bike Share for Bike Tours?

Here’s some interesting timing, we were just thinking about whether bike share makes sense for a self-guided city tour.  USAToday recently posted this article: 10Best: Bike Share Program to Tour Great Cities (apparently all the “best” cities are in the US).   Our town, Austin, made the list!

So, does bike share make sense for us city bike tour types?  The article says:

Forget a rental car or a taxi: The best way for travelers to explore a city is often on two wheels. And with more than 50 U.S. municipalities offering bike-share programs, it has never been easier for visitors to take to the streets, says Paul DeMaio, a transportation consultant and co-author of the Bike-sharing Blog. “You’re getting to see the sights, see how the city functions and you’re able to cover more ground than by simply walking.”

We certainly agree that two wheels are the way to go and faster than walking. And bike share is a quick, accessible way to get on those two wheels and get moving quickly. For cities like Austin, you can find rental stations within a block or two of most central locations.  That’s a time saver over finding and getting transport to (you could always use the bike share!) a rental shop.

So, what’s the downside?  Well, it could get expensive vs. renting a bike or even taking a tour. For example, in Austin, a day pass is a mere $8 for unlimited 30 minute rides.  That’s a great deal …. BUT, if you wanted to keep that same bike and ride for, say, 4 hours, it would cost you $36. That’s not bad either, but as the day goes on, it could get expensive.  On the other hand, if you make frequent stops and check in/out at each destination, you could literally spend just the initial $8.

Other cities will have different rate structures, so be sure to review your destination city’s plan before you decide.

Another possible minor downside for you, is that shared bikes tend to be heavy and slow (designed to last forever and accommodate many body sizes over winning the Tour de France).

So, here’s our advice:

  • If your city has a bike tour available, take it.  You’ll meet people, get inside tips, and probably see and learn more than you would on your own.
  • If you’re hungry for more, bike share is a great option, just make sure you understand how it works.
  • If you want a nicer/faster/keep-it-for-the-duration bike…rent one at a local shop.  But take the bike share to get you there from your lodgings!

And finally….guess what?  Austin’s B-cycle is starting their own tours! (see bottom of page).