Courtesy of Houston Bike Share
There’s a new option for getting around the Texas Medical Center (TMC). Stations of red bicycles are speckled through TMC and placed near UTHealth facilities.
The BCycle bikes are operated by Houston Bike Share, a local bike sharing network that has recently expanded into the area.
The bikes can be rented for a fee, and the nonprofit is offering a discount code to all UTHealth students, faculty and staff.
“We see a lot of synergy with our organization. We are health and sustainability focused, but really, there are a lot of people moving around the area. We are honored to give them a way to get them from point A to B that is fast, fun, healthy and affordable,” said Houston Bike Share Marketing and Communications Manager Henry Morris.
How it works
The network is designed to allow a user to take a bike from one location, ride it their destination and return it to another BCycle docking station.
BCycles can be rented for a monthly fee using a mobile app, or directly at the station for a one-time charge. The charges are time-based.
The app allows users to see how many bikes are available at each docking station. It also provides directions, helps users find nearby stations and gives the user their trip history. Users can undock using their mobile devices.
The bikes are located in the TMC, Rice Village and downtown.
How to sign up
To get a discount, BCycle users must register online or through the company’s app.
Student, faculty and staff memberships are offered on a semester basis. The fee will be $5 per month, and the app will drop the fee to coincide with the number of months left in the semester. Initially, the site and app will show a fee of $45, but that will drop to $10 once the code is applied to pay for November and December.
For $5 per month, the user will receive a free hour-long bike ride from one BCycle station to another. Users will be charged $3 per additional 30 minutes over the initial hour. The fee includes a free membership card, which allows users to tap the card where indicated on the bike to use it. That card will come in the mail and has its own set of instructions.
Without an account, the bikes cost $3 per 30 minutes to use.
Houston Bike Share will host a free demo on how to use the bikes from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 16 at MD Anderson UTHealth Graduate School, 6767 Bertner Ave. The event will include test bikes to ride as well as information on where stations are located and suggested routes.
Go to https://houston.bcycle.com/.
Choose the “Fall Student/Staff Membership” option. You must then click the blue “Have a promo code” hyperlink. Once you click on the promo code, the page change allows entry of the UTHealth Promo code “UTHFALL1” as well as your university email address. Click “Apply” to get the discount and then click on the blue “Continue” button.
You will then be prompted to enter your personal information, including you name, email and address as well as create a password. Click Continue.
The next screen will ask you to verify your information and accept the terms and conditions. You may also opt to receive email or text updates.
After that, you will be asked to enter payment information.
Using the app:
Download the BCycle app in Google Play or in the Apple store. The logo will have a white B in a blue circle with a red border.
The app will ask for your current GPS location and access to maps. Click “Allow.” The app will then ask you to go to the Houston BCycle. That will prompt a display of app features.
To create an account, click on the three gray bars at the top left of the screen, and click on “Join Now,” at the top right.
Select the Fall Student/Staff Membership option. You will be asked if you would like a free membership card, which will allow you to check out a bike quickly and easily, similar to how your ID badge allows you to access secure areas.
You will then be prompted to enter in your personal information and your credit or debit card information.
The final screen will allow you to review the information you entered and apply a promo code. Enter “UTHFALL1” and click “Apply.” The total should change from $45 to $10. Then click “Buy Now.”
Once you’re registered, there are several ways to get riding.
Users can walk up to the station and use the touch screen. There, the system will send a text code to the phone registered to the account or riders can enter the credit card number associated with the account to use a bike.
They can also rent a bike with the BCycle mobile app or using the membership card, which mailed to interested users and comes with setup instructions.