Melbourne Bike Share is well underused but I think it is the best way to experience Melbourne as a tourist and for short commutes.
The bike share scheme is owned by Victorian Government aiming to promote a more sustainable transportation system in Melbourne, making the city more inclusive, green, healthy, livable and enjoyable.
The sharing network is designed for short trips connecting the Melbourne Central Business District (CBD), Docklands, St Kilda and South Melbourne. With 50 stations, over 600 bicycles and a network of dedicated bike lanes, riding a bike in Melbourne is convenient, fast, safe and also cheap!
Casual users pay as little as $3 a day or $8 a week for unlimited trips. There are no additional charges as long as each trip is less than 30 minutes. No sweat if you are a slow or leisure cyclist, who loves to enjoy the view and breeze while riding; It is only $2 extra for each trip up to 60 minutes.
Annual subscribers only pay $60 a year, and receive up to 45 minutes free each trip; a great way to commute for city dwellers trying to avoid hefty tram fares outside the free tram zone.
Best of all, helmets come with the bikes and it is safe riding in the dark as they have built in lights.
As a regular user myself here are a few handy tips:
1. Grab a blue helmet loosely secured to the blue bike’s handle, unless you bring your own. Pick the right size and adjust for comfort. The helmet hair look is worth $190, which is the penalty for riding without one. Victoria has a mandatory helmet law.
2. Look at the available bicycles at a docking station and choose the best and newest looking (and no obvious damage) one. Some things to look out for; seats, wheel and splash cover, handle bar and pedals.
3. Adjust seat to your hip height for best riding efficiency and comfort.
4. To release the bicycle after keying your given pin, always lift from the seat slightly
5. Have a short test ride to ensure the bicycle is fully functional. The brakes and gear change functions are not usually obvious without a test ride. If you are not happy with your choice, dock the bike and choose another. Do press the red button if you think it requires maintenance or repair.
6. The bicycles may feel heavy at the handle due to the parts required for docking. So let the riders in lycra with overly priced bicycles overtake. Remember not to ride on footpath unless it has a shared use sign.
7. Use the bell to warn pedestrians especially along Swanston Street when passing tram stops. If you rather not stop behind trams as they unload passengers, pedal harder to overtake before they stop! Watch out for tram tracks to avoid wheels getting caught.
8. Always know the next closest docking station to your intended destination. Occasionally, you may find that your destination’s docking station is fully occupied and you might have only a few minutes left before you need to pay the extra $2.
9. When you dock the bike at your destination, give it a slight lift and firm push and ensure the green light appears. If you decide to use the service again, you will need to wait for a few minutes for the system to register its return.
Who needs a car in the city when you can ride the little blue bikes looking like you are doing a part for the planet? Happy riding!