Pedal power: Houston launches downtown public bike share program

Photo: Alan Warren

Local politicians don’t see eye-to-eye on every issue, but Houston Mayor Annise Parker, City Council Member Jack Christie, and State Sen. Rodney Ellis and State Rep. Carol Alvarado took some time to bike downtown together Wednesday afternoon to promote the city’s new bike share program.

As the group, flanked by aides and staffers, rolled up to City Hall, mostly clad in suits and bike-unfriendly shoes, Sustainability Director Laura Spanjian could be heard saying “Anyone can ride these.”

The initiative, which launched Wednesday with 18 bikes at three stations–at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Market Square Park and City Hall–makes Houston one of 15 cities in the U.S. to adopt a public bike share program.

“We hope it will be embraced by Houstonians and will expand,” Parker said.

Parker added that the initiative, known as Houston B-Cycle, will help Houston become a cleaner, greener city.

“Let’s face it, we could all use a little more exercise,” she added.

Bob Burns, the president of B-Cycle, said the program will not only appeal to Downtown commuters and lunch-hour riders, but also to tourists and people in town on busines.

“This will make Houston a much more enjoyable place for people who visit,” he said.

The program is expected to expand over the coming year to 200 bikes and more than 20 stations around the city.

The self-service stations are available from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, and bikes can be dropped off at any station. They come equipped with a lock, lights and a front basket. And commuters stuck with a flat won’t have to worry about changing it themselves: Customer service will pick up the bike where you leave it locked, Burns said.

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