Rent A Bike Near You With One of These Dockless Bike Sharing Services

Need to rent a bike? Depending upon which city you're in, bike sharing services like these let you do it all through an app.

If you live anywhere near a major city, you've probably noticed an upsurge in bike sharing (and a little scooter sharing, too!) services recently. Eco-friendly, convenient, and cheap, bike shares allow you to navigate busy city streets quickly and easily without the hassle of public transportation or the drama of attempting to drive. 

Who's behind the influx of bike-shares? Depending on your geography, the most prolific names arriving on the scene may differ somewhat, but overall, these are the bigger name bike shares in the major U.S. cities. We have a full list of cities and their respective bike sharing services at the end of the article. 

Bike sharing services in your city

How bike sharing works

Getting your hands on a bike from any of these companies looks pretty easy across the board: Essentially you can rent a bike by just downloading their bike sharing app, searching for bikes near you, reserving the bike you want, and then either entering your PIN or scanning your QR code to unlock the bike and ride. We'll check each one, as well as any unique features they may have, on our tour of the top bike-shares in the country. Let's get into it!

The 13 best bike sharing services

JUMP

JUMP, an electric bike and scooter rental service, was started by Uber and recently launched in a few major cities around the U.S.

How can you rent one? JUMP has a standalone app for Android, and you can also find and rent JUMP electric bikes and scooters directly from the Uber app on iOS or Android.

Where are these available? JUMP's e-bikes are now available in 10 major American cities, including Austin, TX; NYC, Santa Cruz, Washington D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Sacramento, Santa Monica, and Providence, RI. So far, their scooters are only available in Santa Monica.

How much does it cost? The cost of JUMP bike rentals varies by city, as well, and can be viewed by clicking on your city here

  • Austin, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Providence, Washington, D.C.: $2 for 30 minutes, $0.07 cents per minute after that
  • Denver, Santa Monica, Santa Cruz: $1 for the first 5 minutes, $0.15 per minute after that.
  • Sacramento: $1 for the first 15 minutes, $0.07 per minute after that

These also include a $25 out-of-hub lock fee.

Where do you put the bike when you're done with it? Done with your bike? Lock it up within the system area, or at a designated hub or bike rack, making sure not to block crosswalks, driveways, or bike lanes. Check here for details, and be sure you've located a proper return spot - you can be charged a fee for leaving the bike outside the system area.

Pros:

  • A top favorite among bike share options
  • JUMP's electric features include a motor in the front wheel and a battery hidden in the frame, which make rides an effortless breeze
  • Their pedal-assist e-bikes are very fun to ride
  • Bright red color makes these bikes easy to spot when you need to find one
  • The company swaps out batteries in need of charge every 2-3 days

Cons:

  • Slightly more expensive than other bike share alternatives, (but some riders feel it's well worth the added coin to ride with such ease)
  • Only reach speeds of 19 mph (which is fast enough for some folks since they hardly have to pedal at all)

Bottom line:

If you want to enjoy your ride and don't mind paying a little more, JUMP will probably exceed your expectations.

Lime

Lime is a bike and scooter sharing service that operates in different networks in cities around the country.

How can you rent one? Download the Lime app for iOS or Android. Then locate a lime near you (each lime represents a Lime bike or scooter), and scan your QR code to unlock the bike of your choice. 

Where are these available? Numerous cities in 17 states. Check here for your city.

How much does it cost? Lime pedal bikes are $1 to unlock and $0.05 per minute to ride. Anyone with a valid 'edu' email address gets a 50% discount. Lime-E electric bikes are $1 to unlock and $.15 per minute to ride. Lime-S electric scoters are $1 to unlock and a small fee (usually $.15 per minute) to ride in most cities. See further pricing details here.

Where do you put the bike when you're done with it? To end your ride, tap 'End Ride' in the app, and your trip summary will become available. Lock your bike by pushing down on the locking arm connected to the rear wheel. Make sure you're in a proper parking area; see here for details.

Pros:

  • Nice selection of electrics and non-electrics available for rider preference
  • Attractive and eye-catching bikes with useful baskets
  • If you call in any issues with bikes, you'll receive great service and possibly some free credits toward future rides (although it takes a few minutes to connect sometimes)

Cons:

  • Some had issues with apps malfunctioning
  • Some found bikes weren't properly maintained, or placed haphazardly around, with some directly in walking path of pedestrians
  • Some reported scooter brakes did not slow them down enough going downhill

Bottom line:

Lime bikes are fine when properly maintained and the apps are in good working order. The main issues with these appear to be a lack of timely maintenance and the riders being extremely hard on the bikes, then leaving them all over instead of parked appropriately off to the side (shame on you!) Hopefully these issues can be rectified before the few ruin a great thing for the many.

Zagster

Another of the newer widely used public bike rentals is Zagster. 

How can you rent one? Get the app for iOS here, and Android here. (If you don't have a smartphone, you can sign up here: zagster.com/ride). 

But then how do I find a bike rental near me, without a phone? Enter your zip code or city here: 

Then choose your bike, ride it as you wish, and return it to a Zagster station in your community as explained here.

Where are these available? Zagster provides bike share services to municipalities, universities and property managers. As their website states, Zagster is the "U.S. market leader in bike sharing, operating in 200+ programs in 35 states...including projects in the cities of Rochester, Fort Collins, Roanoke, Winston-Salem, Wichita, Corpus Christi, Huntsville, and Albuquerque." On top of those, Zagster's new Pace program has bikes in Tallahassee, with more soon coming to Knoxville and many other cities in 2018.

How much does it cost? This can range broadly depending upon location, membership plans, and eligibility. Check zagster.com/ride for your city's bike share pricing details.

Where do you put the bike when you're done with it? Place your Zagster bike into a bonafide Zagster station and end the ride on your app.

Pros:

  • Most reported enjoying their ride when bikes were in proper working order
  • Convenient, cheap way to get around cities and universities
  • Excellent customer service - when you can reach them

Cons:

  • Some reported they could not rent a Zagster bike if they didn't have a phone with them
  • Some had difficulty with the app freezing, needing to be restarted
  • Some stated it took them a few tries to find a bike in good working order (flat tires, broken pedals, etc.)

Bottom line:

Zagster has decent bikes for the most part, but check to make sure all is in working order before unlocking your bike in the first place Any trouble with the app or issues with the bike, call customer service right away — it may take you some time to get through. 

Also, please make absolutely sure to lock your bike securely in the proper location as well as ending your ride in the app. Some had trouble with this, and were subsequently charged with the full replacement of missing bikes for forgetting to lock them after ending their ride in the app (bikes are not GPS-tracked).

Relay

Next up is Atlanta's top bike sharing service, Relay.

How can you rent one? You can enter your account number or scan your member card on the bicycle keypad, or download the Social Bicycles mobile bike rental app, to reserve a bike. Enter your PIN to unlock the bike, ride as you wish,  then return your bike to a station or rack as directed. If those are  full, you can also lock it to any other public bike rack for a fee.

Where are these available? Atlanta.

How much does it cost? $3.50 for the first half hour, then 15 cents per minute afterward. Monthly pass prices and other discount pricing details can be viewed here.

Where do you put the bike when you're done with it? Lock it to a proper bike station, or a rack within 100 feet if the station is full. You can also lock to any other public bike rack for a fee. Watch the screen on the bike for your confirmation before leaving.

Pros:

  • Guests reported enjoyable rides through the city
  • Excellent staff
  • Handy interactive map shows locations of bikes, how many are available, and you can reserve them
  • Relay app has a way to check in, pay online, end ride, etc.

Cons:

  • Some wished there were more bikes offered throughout the city
  • Only adjustable parts on the bike are the seats and gear, making rides a little tricky for shorter-than-average folk
  • Clunky

Bottom line:

Relay bikes are great for convenient, short rides through the city. If you'll need to use your online bike rental for longer than a couple of hours, check out the other passes they offer to find your best rate.

Divvy

When in need of a bike rental in Chicago, you won't go far before finding a Divvy bike station — there are hundreds throughout the city. 

How can you rent one? Check for bike and dock availability on the app or System Map, then pick one up and ride as you wish.

Where are these available? To give you some idea, each blue bubble below is a separate Chicago Divvy station. There are over 580 of them. I just clicked on one to show an example of what's available at Clark and Bryn Mawr. Try your own search here:

How much does it cost? Single rides are $3 for 30 minutes with another $3 added per additional half hour beyond that. See additional pricing and membership options here.

Where do you put the bike when you're done with it? You may return your bike to any station with an open dock anywhere in the city. See details here.

Pros:

  • A fun way to explore Chicago and ride along the lake path
  • Plenty of stations available for pickup and docking
  • These are comfortable and sturdy bikes for most riders

Cons:

  • Some feel they're heavy and hard to ride with only 3 gears
  • Some reported problems with the app
  • You're limited to 5 minutes to enter the codes that unlock the bikes (so pay attention!)

Bottom line:

Grab a Divvy for a ride along the lake path or a leisurely lap or two around the Loop. You'll find they're far superior to the average taxi ride or walking. Be sure you aren't expecting luxury, however — these are very basic bikes! Make sure also that you wait for the green light to show itself when you drop them off so you won't get charged extra time. Problems with the app? Call customer service right away.

CycleHop & HOPR

According to CycleHop's website, they like to say they 'invented' bike share in 1997 when they received the first United States patent for the "Automated Bicycle Rental Station." With a vision toward making bikes available to everyone, they now operate in 15 American cities and a dozen universities in North America. 

They are also the parent company of HOPR ebike bike sharing:

How can you rent one? Download the HOPR app and find a bike near you. Scan the QR code and ride as you wish.

Whether you're searching for an electric bike rental near me, a regular street bike rental, a hybrid, or a scooter, HOPR has something for you. Check their fleet here and order here.

Where are these available? CycleHop operates in 15 cities and several universities across North America and has partnerships with the following programs. In 2018, CycleHop will introduce a dockless bike share brand across North America and Europe. HOPR is available throughout Chicagoland, Ottawa, and the University of California at Santa Barbara.

How much does it cost? This varies with location. Their Chicago program charges $2.50 for the first half hour and 10 cents per minute afterward, and $60 for a season pass with 90 minutes of ride time daily.

Where do you put the bike when you're done with it? Park at a HOPR pond and lock your wheel to end your ride.

Pros:

  • Fun for riding through the Forest Preserves (with a friend)
  • With the ebikes, users can swap out powerpacks and recharge as needed after they receive them at sign up
  • When not charging ebikes, powerpacks can double as a portable phone or tablet charger 
  • The pedal-assist motor helps riders get up to 15 miles per hour

Cons:

  • Limited to 3 city/university locations

Bottom line:

Try the one-time ride for half an hour first. If you enjoy the ride and all goes smoothly, see about a season pass (if you live locally)- you'll get a full 90 minutes daily with $60, and can add on if you need be.

Bluebikes

Next up, Boston's very own Bluebikes.

How can you rent one? Grab their app here or utilize the System Map here. You can also buy a pass from any Bluebikes station kiosk or become a member online. Then you unlock the bike with a ride code or member key, 

Where are these available? Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville, MA.

How much does it cost? A single trip is $2.50 for 30 minutes, and another $2.50 for every additional 30 minutes thereafter. See details here for annual memberships and passes.

Where do you put the bike when you're done with it? Return your bike to any Bluebike station, and watch for the light on the dock to turn green.

Pros:

  • Great way for tourists (or anyone) to see Boston, Harvard, U, and MIT
  • Can ride for 2 hours with the daily rental before you'll need to dock it 
  • Prompt and friendly customer service (for the most part)

Cons:

  • Some reported a lot of bikes and docks being broken
  • If you can't find a working dock when you want to, you may spend some time riding around to find another one

Bottom line:

Bluebikes is an excellent concept which works out great if you happen to find a working bike/working dock at the time you need it. Otherwise, don't set your heart on it.

Ford GoBike

Ford GoBike is a bike sharing service with eBikes in the San Francisco area.

How can you rent one? Get the Ford GoBike app or view the map of area stations to find a bike near you. Select your ride, ride it as you wish, and then return it to an empty dock, waiting for the green light showing it's locked in before leaving.

Where are these available? Bike stations are available in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville or San Jose, CA.

How much does it cost? $2 for 30 minutes (for a limited time; it's usually $3 or 30 minutes), and $3 for each additional 15 minutes. Read about other passes and memberships here.

Where do you put the bike when you're done with it? Place your bike into any empty dock and watch for the green light to confirm it's locked before walking away.

Pros:

  • Convenient 
  • Affordable rates, especially if you use daily and bought the annual membership
  • Great customer service

Cons:

  • Some warned of tricky riding in the city during busy times
  • Some reported bikes not unlocking when they tried; app malfunctioning

Bottom line:

Ford GoBike is convenient, and the bikes are fun to ride. If you have the need, this bike share has an affordable and worthwhile annual membership. Use caution when riding downtown during busy times. If bikes won't lock for you lift the seat and pull to make sure it's securely in place - you should get a green light.

CoGo

If you're looking to get around Columbus, OH on a bike, CoGo is your man.

How can you rent one? Download their app here or check their map for available bikes. Use a ride code or member key to unlock your bike and ride as you wish.

Where are these available? Throughout Columbus, Ohio. Recommended rides are described here.

How much does it cost? You can become a member or purchase a Day or 3-Day Pass from a CoGo station kiosk or Transit App. Single Day passes are $8 for unlimited half-hour rides within a 24-hour period. Read about additional passes and memberships here.

Where do you put the bike when you're done with it? Return your bike into any empty dock and wait for the light to turn green on the dock before leaving.

Pros:

  • Standard, sturdy bikes
  • 3 gears are good enough for city riding
  • Helpful option for healthy, eco-friendly travel around Columbus
  • Riding in Columbus is simple with well-marked bike routes

Cons:

  • Some felt it was expensive for an $8 day pass
  • Some had trouble docking/unlocking bikes
  • Some wished for some type of receipt or email notification that you've returned your bike once docked
  • 30 minute increments may not be sufficient time for some people

Bottom line:

If you don't mind the prices, you'll probably like CoGo. Just make sure you carefully watch the clock and observe where your docking stations are when it's time to end your ride.

CitiBike

Next up? New York's popular CitiBike service.

How can you rent one? Get their app or view the Station map here to find a bike near you. Unlock the bike you choose with your ride code or member key, then ride as you wish. 

Where are these available? CitiBike NYC has 750 stations across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Jersey City.

How much does it cost? $3 for 30 minutes for a Single Ride. Day passes and annual membership details can be viewed here.

Where do you put the bike when you're done with it? Return to any empty dock at a CitiBike station, and watch for the green light before walking away. 

Pros: 

  • Comfy, decent bikes in good condition
  • Efficient travel through city without the headaches of public transportation
  • Lots of rave reviews and compliments about the helpful and informative CitiBike Ambassador at Central Park South, across from The Plaza Hotel. Got questions? Make your way over there!

Cons:

  • Some noted bike maintenance is somewhat slow for the pedal-assist bikes
  • Some had card machine and docking difficulties which prevented them from releasing bikes

Bottom line:

Keep in mind where CitiBike docks are and how long it's been so you won't be late to dock. And pertaining to maintenance: One customer service rep noted that if you accidentally rent a bike in disrepair, you can return it to an empty dock and press the wrench button, which will allow you to unlock any new bike. Try that in a pinch!

Biketown 

Biketown is Nike's answer to bike sharing services, headquartered in the same place as the sneaker giant — Portland, OR.

How can you rent one? First you choose your plan and sign up for Biketown with the app here (or any station kiosk or the website), then select your bike and unlock by entering your 6-digit account number and 4-digit PIN into the bike's keypad. You can also reserve a bike for up to ten minutes.

Ride as you wish, and enjoy Portland!

Where are these available? Throughout Portland, Oregon. Here are a few recommended rides within the region.

How much does it cost? The Pay-As-You-Go Plan is $0.08 per minute, with a $5 one-time-sign-up fee, and unlimited trips. Read details on other memberships and passes here.

Where do you put the bike when you're done with it? Lock your bike down at any Biketown station or public station using these guidelines.

Pros:

  • Great customer service
  • Currently updating all bike keypads
  • Super convenient way to get around Portland
  • Excellent option if you make sure to read all directions

Cons:

  • Some found bikes heavy
  • Some reported being charged fees that were not correct
  • Some had trouble with bikes locking and keypads not working

Bottom line:

You'll probably enjoy Biketown for riding through Portland either outside of work hours or if you have a very flexible job (where you can be a few minutes late if the dock doesn't work). Check if keypads have been replaced; this can alleviate many headaches all on its own.

Nice Ride

Now, onto a bike share service for the midwest. Here's Nice Ride.

How can you rent one? As with the previous bike shares, you'll first download the app or view the System Map to find your bike. 

Then create your account, and unlock it with your member key or get a ride code. Ride as you wish through the areas of Minneapolis or St. Paul.

Where are these available? Nice Ride operates 201 stations in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, with over 1,800 bikes in their fleet.

How much does it cost?  A Single Ride is $2 for 30 minutes, with an extra $2 added for every additional 30 minutes thereafter. Read about Day Passes and Annual Memberships here.

Where do you put the bike when you're done with it? Return it to a station and watch for the green light on the dock before leaving. If returning a dockless bike, return to the hub nearest you and lock it down to end your trip.

Pros:

  • Easy system to navigate
  • Great city for bike sharing; Minneapolis has a very sufficient number of bike lanes
  • Friendly, helpful customer service

Cons:

  • Some didn't care for the 30 minute docking rule after they'd already paid for the day

Bottom line:

Nice Ride is a great way to see bike-friendly Minneapolis and avoid hectic driving and public transport. If it's hot outside, grab a bike and enjoy the breeze as you ride!

Capital Bikeshare

Now onto the main bike sharing service of the DMV — Capital Bikeshare.

How can you rent one? Get the app or check the map, find your bike and unlock it with your bike key or a ride code.

Where are these available? Their fleet has 4,300 bikes in over 500 stations across 6  jurisdictions of Metro D.C.: Washington, DC.; Arlington, VA; Alexandria, VA;  Montgomery, MD; Prince George's County, MD; and Fairfax County, VA.

How much does it cost? Ride a single trip for $2 for 30 minutes. Above 30 minutes, usage fees are added as follows (chart from the Capital Bikeshare site here). Read about other plans and memberships here

0-29 minutesIncluded
30-59 minutes$2
60-89 minutes+ $4
90+ minutes+ $8 per each additional 30 minutes

Where do you put the bike when you're done with it? Return it to any station and lock it in, waiting for the green light on the dock before walking away.

Pros:

  • Lots of fun for seeing the sights, especially at night
  • Plenty of docking stations available in a widespread area
  • Some found the ride very enjoyable but warned of lack of bike lanes in D.C. area

Cons:

  • Some had a slight bit of trouble unlocking and docking their bikes and needed assistance
  • Checking in bikes every 30 minutes is not popular with this company either

Bottom line:

Need a ride through D.C.? Give Capital Bikeshare a try — although you'll need to dock it every 30 minutes. There are lots of docking stations, so you won't be hard-pressed to find one. There's an option to get longer periods between dockings, so if you think you'll have trouble keeping the 30 minute dockings, opt for that one. It's better than getting hit with fees.

Other bike sharing services

Although these 12 were our favorites, there are still several others which caught our eye and deserved a mention. These are:

BCycle - Found in many cities nationwide

Social Bicycles - Powers bike sharing services in tons of cities nationwide

Metro Bike Share - Los Angeles

Peace Health Rides - Eugene, Oregon

Bewegen - Baltimore 

Big list of bike sharing services by city

And, as promised, here's our full list of bike sharing services in all the major U.S. cities they're available in: 

Of course, this list will change, dwindle, and expand, and change some more over time, so nothing here is set in stone. We'll continue working on this bike share directory as we gather more sources — check back and let us know if we missed your favorite!

Well, there you have it! What did you think? Have you used these, or will you use any of them for bikes in the near future? Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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Posted on Jun 24, 2016