Now you can bike around downtown Oklahoma City even if you don't own a bike.
Spokies, the city's new bicycle sharing program, officially launched Friday with a news conference at the bicycle station in front of the Downtown Library.
The six stations spread across downtown and Bricktown have been ready to go for a few days, but the city and Downtown OKC Inc., the Spokies partners, wanted the official launch on national Bike to Work Day.
City Councilwoman Meg Salyer, who lives and works downtown, is a Spokies advocate and said bicycle sharing adds another dynamic dimension to the ongoing transformation of Oklahoma City's urban core.
“Small things do go a really long way in increasing the quality of life,” Salyer said. “It's just providing people an alternative, something fun and different. But this is important, because it's not just about entertainment.”
Officials said they hope Spokies will reduce the number of cars on downtown streets, provide people who live and work downtown with a healthy and quick way to get around, and promote tourism for visitors who can cover more ground than they could on foot or repeatedly parking and re-parking their car.
Riders can buy memberships for a day, a month or a year and then check bikes in and out at any of the six stations. Memberships are secured only with credit cards, not with cash, debit or check cards.
“Insert the credit card, and then pick the bike that you want, which will have a number on it,” said Jennifer Gooden with the city's Sustainability Office, which manages the city's side of Spokies. “Plug that number in, and it will release the bike from its lock for you to check out.”
Rides of 30 minutes or less are free, so many members rarely will have to pay much more than their membership if they're only riding bikes from station to station as a way to get around.
Federal grant money paid for the bikes and rental stations, and the program's goal is to pay for its operating costs with revenue from riders. Downtown OKC handles marketing and operations, and the rental kiosks are solar-powered.
Spokies could be expanded with more bicycles, more stations downtown and perhaps in other areas of Oklahoma City depending on the program's success, officials have said.
Pricing: Memberships are $5 for one day, $20 for one month and $75 for one year. Monthly and yearly memberships are bought online, and daily memberships can be purchased at kiosks. The first 30 minutes of each ride is free, and each additional half-hour is $2. Credit cards are charged $500 if the bicycle isn't returned within 48 hours.
• Deep Deuce (NW 2 and Walnut Avenue)
• Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (Reno Avenue and Mickey Mantle Drive)
• Midtown (NW 10 and Walker Avenue)
• Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum (NW 4 and Harvey Avenue)
• Downtown Library (Park and Hudson avenues)
• Chesapeake Energy Arena and Cox Convention Center (Reno and Robinson avenues).