Tempe is a small city with a lot of ground to cover. There is so much to see and do that you simply can’t do it all on foot. Lucky for us, there are many modes of transportation to choose from. Of course, we have the Valley Metro Rail, Orbit and soon to be Tempe Streetcar, but what better way to get around town than to zip and zoom on a scooter or bike! Both can be easily rented in Tempe and have you on wheels and on your way in a flash.
Tempe offers public bicycles that can be rented through the Grid Bike Share program. Tempe’s system includes 300 bikes and 30 stations, offering another alternative to residents and visitors for getting around the city with ease.
Tempe Grid Bike stations are located in high-activity areas such as Downtown Tempe, near the ASU Tempe Campus, and along the light rail line. Grid Bikes are also available in neighboring cities, Phoenix and Mesa. In all three cities there are more than 1000 bikes available to rent at 100 stations which can be found via the Social Bicycles Mobile app.
How to Ride:
- Download the free Social Bicycles app (it’s a white box with a blue bicycle inside). Next, set up your account by providing some basic info: your name, email and credit card information. You’ll also need to create a pin number. Once you have the app installed, you’ll get a couple of emails that confirm your membership, provide your account number and pin, and give you directions on how to use the bikes. Watch this Social Bicycles video to get a better idea about how to rent a bike in Tempe.
- Renting a Grid Bike is really simple. You can either reserve a bike ahead of time by using the app, or just show up at a Grid Bike station, choose a bike and enter your account number and pin on the keypad that is located behind the seat.
- Once you’ve entered your info on the keypad, remove the U-lock and put it in the holder above the back tire. Then you’re off!
- To end your ride: If you want to stop anywhere along the way and grab a coffee or a snack, press the “hold” button on the keypad and then use the U-lock to lock the bike to any bike rack. That way, your bike will be waiting for you when you return.
- To end your ride completely, remove the yellow U-lock from the holster and secure it the rack at a Grid Bike hub or public bike rack (an additional $2 fee). Check the keypad to make sure the bike is locked which is indicated with a THANK YOU.
We tried two routes using Grid Bikes in Tempe:
Route 1: ASU Tempe Campus, Downtown Tempe and Tempe Town Lake
I rented a bike from the Tempe Town Lake station (located on the northwest corner or Rio Salado Parkway and Mill Avenue). In about 30 seconds, I was pedaling down Mill Avenue.
I explored Downtown Tempe, Tempe Town Lake and ASU’s Tempe Campus. My journey started south on Mill Avenue, then I went east on University Drive to the Original ChopShop for an Acai Bowl. I then headed to the ASU Tempe Campus. I continued south on Palm Walk, saw the impressive architecture at McCord Hall and then went north to Desert Financial Arena and Sun Devil Stadium.
From here, I rode north on Mill Avenue to Tempe Town Lake, riding past other bikers, joggers and everyone else enjoying their Saturday on and around the water.
I feel like I was able to see and do a lot in the short amount of time I rented the bike. Returning it was a breeze and in an hour, I was on my way.
Distance: 5.5 miles
Riding Time: 48 minutes
Route 2: Kiwanis Park and South Tempe
I rented a bike from Kiwanis Park so I could explore south Tempe. The Grid Bikes station is located in a parking lot just east of All America Way. I drove south on Mill Avenue past Baseline Road. Instead of turning on All America Way, I turned south into the park, continued on Mill Ave. and found the Grid Bike station and a parking lot to the right.
From the Grid Bike station, I traveled south on my bright green bike along All America Way through Kiwanis Park. There were lots of people out and about on the ball fields and on the playground. I even crossed the finish line of a 5K.
I continued south on All America Way to Guadalupe Road and then turned right. Just a few feet away, there is a crosswalk at the canal path on the west side of the park. I went south on the Western Canal Path, past the Ken McDonald Golf Course. This path takes a turn east near the golf clubhouse. I followed it to Rural Road and then headed south.
If you wanted to stop for a latte or a bite to eat, you can’t go wrong at The Crepe Bar or P. Croissant. Both are located next to each other on the northwest corner of Rural and Elliot Roads. There’s a very convenient bike rack in the parking lot.
From here, I continued west onto Elliott Road where I picked up the Kyrene canal path on the right, about a half mile from Rural. I headed north on this path and spotted the other half of Ken McDonald Golf Course. There are always golfers on the green, lots of runners and bikers. It’s well maintained with colorful landscaping. And, there’s a net over the top of the path, just in case a golf ball goes astray.
I crossed Guadalupe Road again and continued through the park back to the Grid Bike station. According to my app, I burned about 200 calories on this route. Not bad for a leisurely weekend morning ride.
Distance: 5.3 miles
Riding Time: 52.33 minutes
For more information about bike paths in Tempe, check out this Tempe Bikeway Map produced by the City of Tempe.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane…..nope, it’s definitely a Bird! Bird watching has a whole new meaning if you’ve been around Tempe lately. It only takes a few seconds to spot one of these rare creatures flying around. If you aren’t in on the joke yet, I will let you in on a little secret, Birds are one of two scooters to have touched down in the Valley this past fall and we suspect that they won’t be flying home for the winter anytime soon. All you have to do is download the app on your phone (each have their own app) and create an account. Once the app is downloaded, it will use your location to find nearby scooters. These scooters are dockless, meaning you can find them just about anywhere. The cost is relatively low too! It costs $1 to start and 15¢ per minute after that. You can even pay as you go and pre-pay for future rides.
How to Ride:
- To ride: scan the barcode on the scooter, click “unlock/start ride” and begin riding by releasing the kickstand and pushing off 3 times. The throttle and brake are on the handles.
- The app will show you how much battery life the scooter has. It will not let you ride it if the battery is too low. A fully charged scooter can travel up to 20 miles. The speed limit for electric scooters is 15 mph, the scooters will only go 14.8 mph.
- To end your ride: park the scooter on a sidewalk near the road, out of the public right of way. Enable the kickstand. Use the app to click “end ride/lock”, then you’ll be asked to take a picture of the scooter.
As visitors of our great city, we do ask a couple of things from you…
- No scooters should be ridden on ASU campus.
- Scooters are meant to travel in bike lanes with the flow of traffic.
- Follow all traffic laws as they apply to wrong-way riding, riding while impaired and observing stop signs and traffic lights.
- The City of Tempe compiled list of the rules of the road for bikes and scooters. Here’s a quick guide for bike and scooter safety.