GENERAL QUESTIONS

What is bike sharing?

Bike Sharing is an ideal alternative to the long walks or short vehicle trips often required when using mass transit, running errands, going to lunch or just getting some fresh air during your lunch break. You can use your credit card at any B-station to purchase a 24 Hour Pass or a 7 Day Pass, and within minutes you can be on your way. When you are done you can check the B-cycle back into the same B-station, or any other B-station. You can also purchase a pass or an annual membership online at Houston.bcycle.com.

What is B-cycle?

B-cycle is a next-generation bike-sharing program. It is a zero-hassle, zero-emissions way to get around town. It’s a bike-sharing program that meets the transportation, health and environmental needs of our communities. One that adapts to any size city, corporation, or campus. It’s spontaneous, but also practical.

 

B-cycle is the only bike-sharing program that measures the actual distance traveled on each ride and keeps track of the calories you’ve burned and the carbon emissions you’ve prevented. All this information is available on your personal B-cycle profile.

B-cycle is the future of bike sharing and it’s available now.

 

What about the actual B-cycle?

Imagine a bike that is always ready to ride, where and when you want to ride it. The tires are always inflated and the chain is never rusty. A bike with a basket to carry your knapsack. A bike with front and rear lights and a bell that fits people tall and short. A bike that’s there whenever you need it, and gone when you don’t. That’s a B-cycle. And it’s powered by the ultimate alternative fuel: you.

Who is B-cycle?

B-cycle is a collaboration among three major American companies:

 • Humana

 • Trek Bicycle Corporation

 • Crispin Porter + Bogusky

The three partners share one common goal: changing the way you get around. And thereby changing our communities for the better. So grab a B-cycle from the nearest B-station and we’re on our way.

How does B-cycle work?

B-cycle relies on the integration of hardware and software to keep track of members and bikes, and all the interactions between users and bikes. Proprietary GPS (global positioning system) and RFID (radio frequency identification) technologies make it possible for bike sharing to be so smart that it is simple for users.

All rides are tracked by the system and associated with members. Data such as distance, duration, calories burned and carbon offset are captured and uploaded to your personal web page at Houston.Bcycle.com.

How much does B-cycle cost?

Different B-cycle systems (cities, campuses, etc.) charge different amounts, and each system’s website provides all the details. 

The cost to use a B-cycle is divided into two components: a membership fee and a usage fee. 

MEMBERSHIP FEE  

The membership fee provides unlimited access to the Houston B-cycle system for a specific period of time. Currently Houston B-cycle offers three membership, or access, levels. 24 Hour Pass ($5.00), 7 Day Pass ($15.00) and Annual Membership ($65.00)

USAGE FEE

Usage fees are charged based on the length of each ride taken by a member, and are typically broken down into half-hour increments. Houston B-cycle gives you the first 60 minutes of use fee free, and then you incur a charge of $2.00 for each additional 1/2 hour after that. To avoid additional fee charges, simply check the bike into any available station and check it back out again and the 60 minute clock starts over. If you have a 24 Hour Pass or a 7 Day Pass, you'll use your credit card to gain access to another bike when you are ready to ride again. 

Check the website of your system for more details about membership fees and usage fees.

MEMBERSHIPS AND FEES

Can I become a B-cycle member if I don’t have a credit card?

B-cycle requires that all accounts be associated with a credit card. 

Can I use a debit card to register as a B-cycle member?

Not at this time.

What is a B-card and how does it work?

A B-card is a plastic card distributed to Houston B-cycle Annual Members. The cards contain an RFID chip uniquely associated with each member’s account. When the B-card is presented at a B-cycle dock, the B-cycle system is queried to confirm that the member is in good standing and to associate the member with the bicycle they are checking out. 

When a bicycle is returned, the B-cycle system updates the member’s account.

B-cards also contain a magnetic strip so the cards can be read by the credit card reader found on each B-station, thereby allowing the B-card holder to obtain time credits when a station is full.

How do I get a B-card?

B-cards are issued to all annual members. Once you complete your membership registration online, your B-card will be mailed to you within 3 to 5 business days. NOTE - if you want to use a B-cycle before you receive your B-card, simply use the credit card that was used to secure your membership. Follow the instructions on the screen at the B-station.

How often is my credit card charged for B-cycle fees?

For memberships of thirty days or less, a user’s credit card is charged once or twice. The membership fee will be charged at the time of registration. If any usage fees have accrued during the membership period, a second charge will be processed following the end of the membership period. 

For memberships of more than thirty days, there will be an initial charge for the membership fee at the time of registration, and thereafter there will be a monthly charge for usage fees, if any, accrued during each month of the membership. A final charge will be processed following the end of the membership period. 

How does B-cycle determine the ending date for membership periods described as “daily,” “weekly,” “monthly,” and “annual”?

Membership periods begin the first time a bike is checked out following initial registration.

24 Hour Pass - ends 24 hours after a B-cycle is checked out for the first time.

 7 Day Pass - ends 168 hours after a B-cycle is checked out for the first time (7 days times 24 hours).

Annual Memberships end 8,760 hours after a B-cycle is checked out for the first time (365 days times 24 hours). 

Can I buy a membership for someone as a gift?

B-cycle operators can sell prepaid gift cards in varying amounts. The gift card contains a promotional code the gift receiver enters on a registration page to partially or fully offset the cost of a membership. The person receiving the gift card must also register a credit card to cover usage fees and other possible fees. 

PERSONAL ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT

How do I extend my membership to a later expiration date?

If you have a membership that is shorter than annual, you can upgrade it to an annual membership by paying the additional amount necessary. To be eligible for this upgrade option, you must upgrade before your other membership expires. For example, if you bought a monthly membership for $20 on July 1 that expires on July 30, you can log in to your personal web page anytime in July and upgrade to an annual membership that will expire on June 30 of the following year. If the cost of an annual membership is $50, you will have to pay only $30 ($50 minus $20) for the upgrade.

Annual members also have the option of automatically renewing their annual memberships by selecting Auto-Renewal in the Account Preferences section of their personal web page.

Will I still be able to access my personal B-cycle web page after my membership period ends?

Personal web pages remain “live” for three years after the lapse of membership. 

What should I do if I’ve lost my B-card?

Go online to your personal B-cycle web page and suspend your card, or call Customer Service immediately so that we can suspend the card and prevent anyone else from using your card to gain access to a bicycle for which you are financially responsible.

A replacement card will be provided for a nominal fee.

While waiting for your replacement B-card to arrive, you can check out bikes by using the kiosk at each B-station by using the credit card associated with your membership account. 

What if I don’t agree with a credit card charge?

Call Customer Service at 713-865-3662.

 What if I want to cancel my membership?

Membership fees are non-refundable, but if you wish to suspend your account to prevent any new usage fees, call Customer Service or manage your account on your personal B-cycle web page.

How can my B-card get denied?

Upon presenting your B-card at a B-station kiosk or dock for authentication, the system checks whether your account is in good standing. If there is a problem, your card will be denied. Please call Customer Service to determine the cause of the problem.

How do I receive or stop text notifications?

When registering, members can choose whether they want to receive text notifications. Members can change that preference anytime thereafter by logging into their personal B-cycle web page and managing their account settings.

How do I change or update my credit card information?

Members can change their credit card information by logging into their personal B-cycle web page and managing their account settings.

What should I do if a bike gets damaged while I have it checked out?

Return a damaged bike to a B-station if possible, or if that is not possible, securely lock it and contact Customer Service. Do not ride a bike with damage that affects its safety features.

Members are financially liable for damages to bikes under their care. Refer to Terms and Conditions for your system.

What if I lose the key?

Contact Customer Service 713-865-3662. There will be a $10 fee for a lost key. Refer to the website of specific systems.

What if the bike is stolen? Will I be financially responsible for the loss of the bike?

Contact Customer Service. Under the Terms and Conditions agreed to upon registering for membership, members may be liable up to a specified limit if a bicycle is stolen or lost while under their care. Refer to the Terms and Conditions posted on your system’s website.

When does my membership period begin?

Your membership period begins the first time you check out a bike.

How do I find my personal ride statistics?

Information about each member’s use of B-cycles is posted to that member’s personal B-cycle web page. Members must log in to view the information, which includes such information as the date and duration of each trip, the station from which the bike was checked out and the station to which the bike was returned, the distance pedaled, the usage fee (if any), the associated calories burned, and carbon offset.

How does B-cycle calculate my miles ridden, etc.?

B-cycles are equipped with an internal GPS device that tracks the bike’s trips. Other technology associates each trip with the member who checked out the bike. After this information is transferred to B-cycle’s computers, algorithms translate the trip information into estimates of the number of calories burned and carbon emissions avoided (as compared to the use of an average automobile for the same trip). If there are technical errors with the data collection or transfer, an estimate will be applied and clearly noted as such.

Can I buy more than one membership with my credit card?

When signing up online, only one membership can be associated with a credit card. When buying a one-day membership at a B-station kiosk, more than one membership can be associated with a credit card, but the same card must be presented each time a bike is checked out during the membership period.

USING A B-CYCLE SYSTEM

Is it legal to ride a bike without a helmet?

Adults may legally ride a bike without a helmet everywhere in the United States, but B-cycle strongly recommends wearing a helmet whenever riding a bicycle.

Does B-cycle provide helmets for riders?

No. There are hygiene and safety issues with shared helmet use. It is the responsibility of the rider to supply his or her own helmet. 

Can I check out a bike immediately after returning a bike?

B-cycle reserves the right to impose a rule that requires a short waiting period between returning a bike and checking out another. Refer to the website of specific systems.

What do the lights and sounds on the dock signify?

A B-cycle dock beeps when a bike has been unlocked or when the bike has been returned.

When the bike is unlocked, the dock beeps continuously until the bike is removed (or 30 seconds, whichever comes first). The green light will also flash from the time the bike is unlocked until it is removed from the dock.

When a bike is returned and properly inserted into the dock, the dock will beep three times very quickly, and the green light will likewise blink three times very rapidly.

If the red “X” is lit on the dock, there is a problem with either the bike or the dock itself. Try a different dock!

If the orange “bad card” sign is lit, we need to talk to you about a problem with your membership. Just call the Customer Service number printed on your B-card or displayed on the bikes and kiosk.

Can minors participate in B-cycle?

The rules for participating in B-cycle vary from one system to another. Refer to the website of specific systems.

Are B-cycle systems open 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

Each system sets its own operating hours, but the Houston B-cycle system operates from 6am-11pm, 365 days a year.  During closure periods, it will not be possible to check out a bike, but bikes can be returned when the system is closed. 

Are B-cycle systems open all year?

Each system has its own schedule. Some systems will not be open in winter months, but Houston B-cycle will operate 365 days a year.

What if the station where I want to return a bike is closed?

Bikes can be returned any time, regardless of whether the system is open or closed. Two beeps and two green blinks indicate a successful return. 

What if I have a flat tire?

Please return a bike with a flat tire to the nearest B-station. If that is impossible, you must properly secure the bike with the built-in lock and contact Customer Service via phone.

What if I am involved in an accident?

If there has been an injury, please dial 911 first. If you are qualified to administer first aid and there is a need, please help out to the limit of your abilities. If appropriate, contact the police, as well. As in any accident, exchange information with any other affected party and collect contact information from witnesses. Contact Customer Service at the earliest appropriate time.

What if a B-station is full and I need to find an empty dock to return a bike?

If you have a bike you wish to return, but there are no available docks at a B-station, you must locate a B-station with available docks and return the bike there. The kiosk located at each B-station will provide real-time information about which nearby stations have available docks. The kiosks at full stations will also add 15 free minutes to your ride so that you can take the bike to an open station without financial penalty.

What if a B-station is empty, but I want to check out a bike?

The B-cycle website and associated mobile applications for each system provides a map of all B-stations in that system with real-time information about the availability of bikes.

What if I want to reserve a bike?

B-cycle does not allow members to reserve a bike.

What if I want to keep a bike all day or longer?

B-cycle is a bike-sharing system designed to promote the constant use and turnover of bikes for short journeys. The pricing system provides incentives for members to keep their trips short. The longer the trip, the higher the usage fee. B-cycle system operators will seek to recover bikes that have not been returned after a specified period of time, and bikes not returned within a three-day limit will be considered lost and members will be liable for a replacement fee (see the applicable Terms and Conditions).

How do I find B-stations?

The B-cycle website and associated mobile applications for each system provide a map of all B-stations in that system. In some locations, maps may also be displayed at B-stations.

Why can’t I sign up for more than one day at a B-station kiosk?

To make the kiosk sign-up process as simple and quick as possible, only one-day memberships are available at the kiosks.

How do I use the built in lock found on all B-cycles?

Use the black cable (found in the basket) to wrap around what ever structure you plan to lock the bike to. You'll plug the silver end of the cable into the port/hole you'll find on the right side below the handle bars/basket. Once the silver end is securely locked into place, the key (black know immediately to the right of the port/hole) will be released. Take the key with you and reverse the process once you return to the bike.