Boston by Bicycle: The Hubway is my Subway

The first time Chris and I visited Boston was March of 2012, and the Hubway bike rental system was very new. Though it was introduced in July of 2011 and opened to great success, it had closed down for the winter and only reopened for spring mere days before we arrived. Curious, we gave it a try. We quickly realized its fantastic potential. Staying out in the fresh air rather than riding the T was amazing, plus it got you to your destination much faster than walking. However, we did have some issues with it. In one instance the docking station didn’t recognize that our bikes had been returned, in another the credit card reader simply wasn’t working, and once we had to ride fairly far out of our way to find a station with empty docks to return our bikes.

Even at dusk, we were confident that the Hubway was a safe and reliable way to get us back to our hotel before dark!

When we returned to Boston for the July 4th weekend this year, Hubway had over three years of improvements and expansions since we last used it so we were excited to give it another shot. This time we only had one minor issue- the touch screen at one of the stations wasn’t working. When we returned to that station the following day, it had been fixed. We used the system so much that we definitely got our money’s worth out of the 72 hour passes we purchased (just $24 total for both of us), and we only had to ride the T once!

A long nearly empty station in early morning.

A long, nearly empty station in early morning.

Here are some basic Hubway facts:

  • The Hubway is meant for individuals 17 years of age and older.
  • You become a member by purchasing an annual ($85), monthly ($20), 72 hour ($12), or 24 hour ($6) membership.
  • Each membership includes unlimited rides of up to 30 minutes within the time frame you paid for.
  • For rides longer than 30 minutes, an additional fee will be added.
  • Long term subscribers just insert their Hubway key into any bike station with an available bike, and pull the bike out when the light turns green.
  • Short term subscribers simply dip their credit card into the slot to print an unlocking code, which they can use to unlock any bike parked in that station.
  • Short term subscribers can charge a maximum of 2 bikes to each credit card.
  • When your ride is over, simply push the bike firmly into an available dock at any Hubway station, where a green light indicates the bike has been docked properly.

It doesn't matter that this printout got torn up in my purse- the unlocking codes expire if they aren't used within 5 minutes.

It’s that simple! We used the Hubway to get all over the city- from our hotel in the Back Bay area to the Science Museum across the river, from Faneuil Hall and the waterfront to Fenway Park and the Prudential Center shopping. Wherever you are going, there is a good chance there is a Hubway station close by. Many streets in Boston have dedicated and well-marked bike lanes, which quelled my initial apprehension as I am neither a fast nor terribly experienced bike rider. All of the bikes are equipped with lights for when dusk arrives, a basket with a strong bungee cord for storing personal items, and three different gears to help you navigate some of the hilly areas.

Note the bike lane, it really came in handy.

Note the bike symbols on the lanes, reminding drivers to share the road.

Head on over to before your next trip to Boston and see if the Hubway can be your subway too!

3 thoughts on “Boston by Bicycle: The Hubway is my Subway

  1. Pingback: ¡Bienvenido a Miami! | the files of a traveling daydreamer

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