Cruising around the Hamptons between Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend can be a nightmare. It took me over an hour to get from Wainscott to Southampton on a Thursday afternoon — on the backroads. But what if there was a way to avoid the traffic, reduce your carbon footprint, and get in shape? Say hello to PedalShare, the Hamptons’ first and only bike share (although Southampton Town is participating in a pilot program in Hampton Bays with Suffolk County starting next month.) It’s like Citi Bike, but local instead of corporate.
PedalShare launched in July 2018 and runs from April 15 through November 15. Right now, PedalShare is only in Southampton at five locations: Agawam Park, The Spur @ The Train Station, Gin Lane Beach, Coopers Beach, and A Butler’s Manor, with plans to expand.
I downloaded the Bloom App, typed in my credit card information, arrived at Agawam Park, scanned the barcode on the bike to unlock it, and began to ride. A brake on the left, twist bell on the right, and basket in front, with an adjustable seat. It was everything you need in a rental bike. The basket easily holds a towel, small bag, and some flip flops. Pack a bottle of rosé, and it’s easy riding.
I had a guest visiting from Sydney, Australia, so the two of us made the perfect test run for this experience, a local and a tourist. It was a beautiful day, and the only thing I could think of was heading toward the beach. We hopped on our rides, began singing aloud the song “Ridin’ Dirty” (thanks for that ear worm, Chamillionaire), turned down First Neck Lane, and took Meadow Lane to the very end. Brittany, my guest, enjoyed every minute. The high hedges and towering trees on the side streets were followed by the pristine coastline, blue water, and massive waterfront homes. It was a quintessential Hamptons ride. The houses looked even bigger from a bike view, somehow. Rather than the confines of a vehicle or the tiredness that comes with a run, PedalShare provided both of us with a relaxing experience. And we were working out at the same time.
From a local perspective, I loved the convenience of where the bike was located and how I could safely park it (or leave it) at another location to walk around. I could share that experience with up to four more guests (if the bikes were available). For Brittany, it was a new way to explore the area that was more upfront and center, in a healthy way. Plus, we’re both fitness fanatics.
The single gear makes it easy for a flat surface ride, but attempting to go up any hill, at any incline, might be difficult: I don’t see the hills of Montauk being an ideal PedalShare destination. Only one person can rent a bike from each phone, meaning all who ride together must download the app, not an easy situation for foreign phones, which need to use data. Minus that, the rate of $4 per hour or $35 a day is reasonable, and I’d certainly ride again.
This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here