If you have been at USC for a while, you might have noticed the fairly recent concept of bike racks stationed on major streets. Known as Metro Bikes, they offer a cheap, environmental-friendly and healthy way to get around town. Let’s break down some of the details in this article. But before that, here’s a picture just so that you are clear on what I am talking about:
To check out a Metro Bike from a station, you have to pay using a debit or credit card at the station. You have to also provide a contact number where the organization can (optionally) send you text messages about your ride, and a zip code. The cost is $1.75 per half hour. You can also get a day pass for $5, a monthly pass for $17, or a yearly pass for $150. This is a one time cost, and all rides for the duration of the pass are free for the first 30 minutes. So if you know that you are going to be taking a bunch of small rides during a particular day, taking the day pass would be great. For example, taking 5 short rides on the same day will normally cost you 5 times $1.75 = $8.75, but getting the day pass will cost $5 and make all the rides free!
You can pick up a bike from any station and leave it at any other station. The bikes come in 3 categories – classic, smart and electric. Electric bikes can go extra fast, while smart bikes work with TAP cards. The classic bike is the standard bike you’ve always known. It comes with 3 gear speeds, which is useful if you’ll be having a stop-start journey (quite likely, given LA’s traffic). The bikes also have a place in the front to carry small items, like if you want to pick up food from somewhere. However, the classic bikes do not have locks. This is not surprising since these bikes are meant to be used for single rides. For example, if you are going from the campus to LA Live to watch a movie, you’ll want to check out a bike from the station on University Avenue and 32nd, then drop it at the station on 9th street about a 5 minute walk away from LA Live. However, it would be convenient to buy a lock (and other biking gear like a helmet and light) if you plan on biking frequently.
Why ride a bike?
I probably don’t need to tell you this, but humans are not exactly being nice to the environment if they drive all the time. Biking uses muscle power, which, apart from having no environmental impact, is also healthy. Biking is a good way to burn calories and can act as a nice add-on to other workout routines that you might do. The area around USC also has separate bike lanes on most big streets like Figueroa and Hoover. So the question to be really asked is “Why not ride a bike?” So go ahead, get out there, get some exercise and feel the fresh air on your face as you bike.
Published on July 2nd, 2019
Last updated on April 1st, 2021