Living in Philadelphia, I enjoy riding my bike everywhere. It’s a great alternative to driving – you’re getting exercise, fresh air, and in most cases in a city, riding can actually be more efficient and faster than driving or public transportation. So on my recent trip up to Montreal, Canada, it was a pleasant surprise that not only was the city bike friendly, but they actually promoted biking through a unique bike sharing program called “Bixi”.
A coupling of the words “Bike” and “Taxi”, Bixi offers travelers a way to explore the city without worrying about driving everywhere or figuring out public transportation. It’s very easy to use and similar to the bike sharing program in Boston and the one that will be eventually starting up in Philadelphia. All you have to do is find a Bixi station (they’re all over the city) and choose how long you’d like to rent a bike. You can rent a Bixi for a few hours or even for the entire year. Use your credit card to pay the rental fee and go. When you’re ready to take a break or want to explore an area by foot you can just find another Bixi station to lock up your bike. If throughout the day you need another bike, just find another Bixi station, use the same card you paid the fee with (the system will recognize your credit card number) and you’ll be on the road again. Just don’t be startled when you see that Bixi has taken $200 out of your account! It’s just a security deposit to make sure you bring back the bike. After you’ve returned your bike and your rental time is up, the $200 is credited back into your account.