If you already hate traffic, you need no reminders that it is destined to get worse with new roadway additions to the area’s major artery, I-4. So one way to avoid the congestion is the city of Orlando’s new bike sharing program.
Be warned, however, it has two disadvantages: 1. It is only available in limited areas, mainly in downtown, which is about 20 miles from Disney and the theme parks. 2: You need to be at least reasonably fit to ride a bike.
Other than that, however, Orlando Bike Share is a cheap and easy way to get around.
This is fine if you are a resident but what if you are a visitor/tourist? What is there to do downtown?
No roller coasters or thrill rides, of course. But you can see a movie there at the Plaza Cinema Café 12 or shop for groceries at a very clean Publix or take in any one of the many bars and restaurants (heavy on pizza). There’s also the city’s newly opened arts complex showing Broadway plays and concerts. The area’s museum district is only a few miles from downtown. And so is the pleasant residential neighborhood of College Park with a small shopping district.
City officials have made it easy to get around to various events by riding a bicycle in a still-new program started in January.
First, you find and reserve a bike on a mobile app or at the web at app.socialbicyles.com. Once a bike is reserved, you enter a 4-digit PIN code on the keypad to unlock a bike. When you want to stop (for coffee or a beer), you press the hold button and lock the bike to a rack. You 4-digit code lets you unlock and ride away. At the end of your trip, you just lock the bike at any regular rack. Bikes can be rented at any time. The program utilizes GPS, smart phone capability, and website technology for membership access and rentals
Bikes are located at dozens of hubs in the Downtown core, Orlando Main Streets, and International Drive. Even though there are locations along tourist-rich International Drive, there are no reports so far about driving to the theme parks, which is impractical because riders would have to traverse major roadways. New locations are also underway.
So how much does this cost?
Rentals start at $5 an hour, plus tax. There is a $25 maximum per day. If you are going to be around for a while, memberships can be bought for $15 a month for 60 minutes, or 120 minutes a month for $20.
The only catch is you need to be at least 18 years of age. Oh yes, there’s also a simple and easy one: your ride time starts as soon as you reserve the bike. So a good hint: don’t reserve the bike until you’re walking towards the hub.
For more information about Bike Share, visit: orlandobikeshare.com. ###