I live in a high rise condo with a great view of downtown San Antonio. About year and a half ago, when I noticed construction equipment across from my building, I got a little worried. Had the local public transportation authority sold part of their park and ride lot? Would a tall structure go up and ruin my view?
Turns out I didn’t need to get my knickers in a knot. What was being built was a solar-powered bicycle dock for a shared bicycle program. For a small annual fee, participants get a card that allows access to a bike for 30 minutes at a time, from 23 docks located all over downtown.
Though I hadn’t ridden a bicycle in over a decade, my curiosity was piqued and I signed up for the program. And for the first time in my adult life, I discovered bicycling not just as a form of exercise, but as a mode of transportation.
Coverage of places I need or want to go is excellent. To the north, there are docks at the Pearl Brewery – which isn’t actually a brewery any more, but rather a shopping center, home to several excellent restaurants and an indie bookstore - at the Museum of Art, and at the Central Library. In downtown proper, there are docks at several of the main tourist attractions, including two within a block of the Alamo. And to the south, there are docks at the Blue Star Arts Complex and a number of bars and restaurants that are popular with downtown residents.
Fortunately, downtown San Antonio is very flat, so travelling by bike doesn’t put too much of a stress on my not so young, not so fit body. And since there’s no need to spend time looking for a parking space, door-to-door time can actually be less than when travelling by car.
So, in many cases, my old childhood friend the bike is now cheaper and faster, as well a greener, than the auto that took its place in my life. What’s not to love?