Houston BCycle is giving free 30-minute rides for Bike to Work Day

Julie Garcia | Houston Chronicle

A bicycle is a conversation starter.

“It opens up conversations with people who need to ride their bikes more,” said Clark Martinson, executive director of BikeHouston, a nonprofit that works with the city to create safe bikeways for bicyclists. “They’ll have that conversation with a neighbor who is riding a bike and they become bike buddies. Then they’ll encourage them to do more errands on their bike, visit friends on their bike, commute to work on their bike…”

Friday is National Bike to Work Day and Houston BCycle is giving away free 30-minute rides for any of its 635 bikes at 90 citywide stations. In addition to Houston, there are BCycle networks in Austin, San Antonio, McAllen, El Paso and Fort Worth.

“We’re one of the bigger BCycle networks in the nation, and we’re planning to have 23 more stations by the end of this year,” said Abby Fernandez, marketing and outreach manager for Houston BCycle. “That will give a lot more people opportunities to get around the city in an affordable and sustainable way.”

To unlock the free ride, use promo code 51719, on the Houston BCycle mobile app. Typical pricing for the service is $3 per 30 minutes or $9 per month for unlimited 60-minutes rides. There are yearlong memberships and discounts for students or city staff.

From 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., bike advocacy groups will be gathered at Bike to Work Day at City Hall, 901 Bagby St., which will include a speech from Mayor Sylvester Turner, breakfast and a group bike ride. BCycle will have bicycles for interested riders.

The two-day Houston Bike Summit will start at 11 a.m. Saturday at Sawyer Yards, 2101 Winter St. It’s considered by many as the largest celebration of cycling in the city. It will include three separate bike tours, a bike rodeo for kids, vendors and a deejay.

The bike tours will showcase Houston-area infrastructure, the historic White Oak Bayou (which will be White Oak Bayou Greenway soon) and one called Community Connections near Buffalo Bayou, Martinson said.

On May 28, BikeHouston will host a free class for bicycle-friendly driving at its office, 616 Hawthorne St. The class is free, but a reservation is required at BikeHouston.org/calendar.

On May 31, BCycle’s inaugural fundraiser “Keep Houston Rolling” will be held at Saint Arnold Brewing Company’s beer garden. The event will be from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; donations are encouraged.

Henry Morris