Public Bike Share Program
Looking for a budget-friendly activity to do in the Boston area? BLUEbikes makes this possible with 3,500+ bikes spanning the Greater Boston Area. I’ve lived in Boston for almost 3 years now, and last weekend was my first time trying out this bike share program. It was so enjoyable to bike around the scenic Charles River! You can’t beat the price and convenience of simply picking up and dropping off the bike while you are sightseeing.
Bike Rental Locations in Boston
You can rent BLUEbikes at their 330+ stations across Arlington, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Newton, Revere, Somerville, and Watertown. You do not have to drop the BLUEbikes at the same location you picked the bike up from, which allows for a lot of flexibility!
Know Before You Go
Since this is a public bike share, you will have to bring your own helmet if you wish to wear one. The bike is equipped with hand brakes and a bell located on the left handlebar. Many of the bikes also have a basket to carry your belongings. To pay at a kiosk, you will need a credit or debit card.
The company offers monthly and annual memberships. They even offer an income-eligible program for commuters. However, the memberships aren’t necessary for a tourist or occasional rider; I would recommend choosing Single Trip or Adventure Pass at the BLUEbikes kiosk.
How to Pay and Start a Bike Ride
Option I: Pay with the BLUEbikes App.
- Enable location services
- Tap the location closest to you on the map.
- A 5-digit code will appear; enter this code on the keypad located on the dock of the bike you wish to take out.
- When the light turns green, the bike is unlocked. Enjoy your ride!
Option II: Pay via the KIOSK at the bike station
- Press the “Getting Started” button on the kiosk screen.
- Insert your credit or debit card.
- Choose how many bikes you’d like. You can rent up to 2 at a time.
- You should then receive a 5-digit ride code. Some stations display the code on-screen, others have the option to print the code Enter this into the keypad on the dock next to an available bike. Each ride code is good for one single use.
- When the light turns green, the bike is unlocked.
- Remove it from the dock by the handlebars or pull the seat to release it.
- If you want to ride again while your pass is active, just insert the same credit card into a kiosk to get a new ride code. (You won’t be charged again.)
Option III: Bike Key (for members)
This option is for those that choose to purchase a membership. You will receive a bike key in the mail.
- Activate your key online. Input the ID code on the bike key, which can be found right below the barcode.
- To unlock a bike with a key, insert the bike key into the slot on the dock next to an available bike.
- When the light on the dock turns green, the bike is unlocked. Pull the bike out of the dock by the handlebars or pull the bike by the seat to release it.
Where to go?
You will find 12 recommended routes on the BLUEbikes website that are full of scenery and historic Boston landmarks. Personally, if I had to pick one bike route, it would be the Charles River Esplanade. The Esplanade’s bike path is clearly marked, well-managed, and offers some fantastic views of Boston.
Charles River Esplanade
The Charles River Esplanade is an excellent area for recreational activities, from listening to music at the Memorial Hatch Shell to watching the sailboat go by. For people renting BLUEbikes, the Charles River Esplanade has a beautiful bike path that keeps you off the main road for 3 miles.
This made me feel far safer because all know the road in Boston can get a bit chaotic at times. If you don’t mind occasional road crossings, then you can enjoy all 20 miles of the Charles River Reservation.
Hello everyone! I am a Boston based blogger that loves all things travel and lifestyle. You can usually find me working away at my university job, snapping pictures, thrifting, or trying out some new recipes.