After seeing the kiosks for the Bay Area Bike Share program, I was intrigued enough to get an annual membership without ever having used the service.
As an annual member I received a key which I simply insert in an available dock, wait for the green light, and pull the bike out while lifting the seat.
After my trip is complete I return the bike by pushing it firmly into an available dock and wait for the green light and voila.
The simple one, two, three, instructions patterned after rinse, lather and repeat are ride, return and repeat, but of course there is more. So in addition here are 10 things you need to know about the Bay Area Bike Share Program:
1. The trips are unlimited but cannot last more than 30 minutes or there will be additional fees.
2. There are 700 seven-speed adjustable bikes in 70 locations in San Francisco, Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Jose. But not in my hometown of Oakland, or any east bay location.
3. Follow the rules of the road, walk your bike on sidewalks, it's illegal to ride a bike on sidewalks, always wear a helmet, which is not provided nor legally required. It is also illegal for ride with headphones on.
4. A twitter tip suggests making eye contact with drivers, pedestrians and fellow cyclists.
5. There are bike lanes in San Francisco, but they are shared with buses and taxis and aggressive cars.
6. I adopt a bike messenger attitude.
7. You should yield to pedestrians, even when they are not in a cross walk. Ride with traffic and obey traffic signals and signs.
8. City blocks are longer than regular blocks.
9. The "cycle finder" app is invaluable, tells the location of the bikes and how many bikes and docks are available. A map and timer are included.
10. The bike has a front rack with a bungee cord.