Hubway bike rentals will go throughout winter – but at Cambridge stations only
The Hubway bike-rental system is shutting down for the winter throughout Boston, Brookline and Somerville – but not in Cambridge, which gets a pilot program to test year-round Hubway service.
This is the first cold-weather test in the system’s 2.5-year history. There are about 115 stations systemwide, with more than 70 of them in Boston. Cambridge has the next largest set of stations, at about 30, with Somerville following at about a dozen and Brookline having only a handful.
Almost all stations in Cambridge will remain open through the winter – just the station in Lafayette Square at Main Street, near Central Square and Massachusetts Avenue, will be gone for the season. (And the Lechmere station will be moved to the sidewalk just east of Lechmere Station.) All station updates will be posted on this station map and on the Spotcycle app for smartphones. Annual members can keep on using the Cambridge stations no additional cost, and 24-hour, three-day and monthly passes will be available as usual.
“We are pleased at the opportunity to pilot Hubway service year-round,” City Manager Richard C. Rossi said in a press release. “We’re committed to supporting sustainable transportation options, and we are excited to continue the program this winter season. We do ask for everyone to use care when riding under winter conditions and also request your patience and understanding as we work with whatever nature brings us in terms of weather.”
As part of the program, snow removal will become part of the daily responsibilities of the program’s field team, Hubway officials said. The team, coordinated by Hubway’s dispatch office, is on the street from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, stocked with equipment to keep stations clear of snow and ice.
Regular seasonal closing of Hubway stations started Monday, although most stations will stay open through Nov. 27. (Closing are posted in advance on Hubway’s website, on Twitter and on Facebook, including temporary closings in Cambridge due to extreme bad weather.) Station alerts will also be emailed to annual and monthly Hubway members, and all riders can consult the app to learn whether bicycles are available. In the event of a system closing, riders will be able to return bikes to all stations securely, but will not be able to check bikes out.
Hubway officials reminded riders of what they needed to keep in mind for cold-weather bicycling:
Wear layers, but remember that riding will warm you up. If you get hot as you ride, pull over and remove a layer, but always keep your ears and hands shielded.
Local bike shops offer bike-appropriate gloves and earmuffs that do not obstruct the use of your helmet.
Plan your route ahead of time.
Always plan for an alternative mode of transportation in case a blizzard hits or if you simply decide that riding is no longer comfortable for you.
Each rider has a different comfort level in inclement weather. If you are uncomfortable for any reason while biking, stop riding and walk your bike to the nearest docking station. If you are cold, make your way indoors to warm up.
Be aware that visibility is particularly limited during the winter, with fewer daylight hours, glare and foggy conditions. Hubway bikes have 24-hour lights, but it is also a good idea to wear light-colored clothing and reflective materials if possible.
Use extra caution under wintry conditions, as roads may not be completely cleared of snow and ice. You are always permitted to ride in the general travel lane (not only the bike lane) and should do so if the bike lane is snowy or icy.