Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

500 Bikes Ready to Hit the Streets on Sunday

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

500 Bikes Ready to Hit the Streets on Sunday

Article excerpt

Five hundred bicycles will officially hit the streets of Pittsburgh, available for short-term rentals, when the city's Healthy Ride bike share program debuts Sunday morning.

The bikes will be deployed at 50 kiosks in 11 city areas, including Downtown, Oakland, North Side, South Side and Shadyside. Riders can rent a bike at one station and leave it at any other when they are finished.

The sleek-looking bikes have wide tires and cushy seats to absorb some of the punishment that city streets dole out, a storage rack, fenders to knock down splashes, front and rear lights, step-through frames for easy mounts and dismounts, and seven gears.

"A wide range of ages, backgrounds and experience levels will feel comfortable on these bikes," said David White, executive director of Pittsburgh Bike Share.

The bikes also are equipped with cable locks that can be used when parking at places other than the kiosks. Onboard GPS technology will enable tracking if a bike goes missing.

People can register for the service and rent a bike using a touch screen at the kiosks; or they can register online at www.healthyridepgh.com and obtain a PIN that is entered in the bike's onboard computer along with the rider's phone number to unlock it. Mr. White said his favorite way to get a bike is with a free smartphone app that enables the user to scan a QR code on the back of the bike to instantly unlock it.

Those who prefer a lower-tech option can register and have bikes unlocked by calling a customer service number, 412-535-5189. "For every level of technology you're comfortable with, we have a way to interact with our system," Mr. White said.

Registration for the service costs $1 and requires Visa or MasterCard. The fee is credited toward the price of the first ride.

A monthly subscription giving unlimited 30-minute rides costs $12 and unlimited 60-minute rides can be purchased for $20. A three- month minimum enrollment is required. For those who want to buy rides one at a time, the cost is $2 for a half-hour, $4 for one hour, $8 for two hours, $16 for four hours and $24 for 24 hours. …

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