A Buffalo-based bikeshare program is preparing to open its 2018 season by rolling out a fleet of 200 "smart" bicycles throughout the city.
Reddy Bikeshare is a program in partnership with Independent Health that debuted in the summer 2016 and, according to its spokesperson Jennifer White, has served more than 5,600 riders who have covered 65,000 miles. She says it's a testament to Buffalo's growing bicycle culture and the desire to use one's own body to get from place to place.
"I can't tell you I've ever been on a bike and I've been unhappy," said White about the health benefits of bicycling. "Whenever I'm on a bike, I'm in a better mood. It gets my blood moving. It gets me active. It reminds me to connect with my surroundings."
Users may download the app by visiting a website and then pay for an annual membership. Those who sign up by May 31 are eligible for a $10 discount, lowering their annual fee to $45.
Bikes will be available at 35 stations throughout the City of Buffalo, including City Hall, Canalside, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Bidwell Parkway, Delaware Park, Buffalo State College and Canisius College.
"People love to explore our waterfront on bike," White said. "Even with the Queen City Bike Ferry right there, it's making it more accessible to connect to the Outer Harbor, connect even further south and so on."
The bicycles include GPS as well as smart locks that let the users leave the bikes at another Reddy station or public rack, while would-be thieves are deterred.
"There could be bikes in more locations because our bikes have internal locking devices that actually lock to public bike racks and other public infrastructure," White said. "When you check your app for the nearest location, there could be one right around you that's not necessarily on a Reddy rack."
The Reddy Bikeshare season opens on April 2 and will continue through November.