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Los Angeles's Bike Share Launches July 7

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A test-drive of the bikes reveals them to be a smooth ride

Santa Monica's bike share has been up and running for a while now (and is moving into Venice) and Westwood/UCLA's on track to have rent-a-bike kiosks this fall, and now Los Angeles is finally falling in step with its long-in-the-works bike share set to debut this summer by way of a pilot program in Downtown. Metro announced today that the bike share will officially open on July 7.

Once this first phase of the bike share opens, Angelenos will be able to pick up one of 1,000 bikes from 65 bike hubs throughout DTLA at spots like Union Station, Chinatown, Grand Park, Little Tokyo, and throughout the Arts District, the Metro official overseeing the bike share tells KPCC.

LA Weekly took a test drive of one of the bikes that will be available, riding from Union Station to the Arts District on one of the slightly vintage-looking Metro bikes. The test rider enjoyed the bike's three gears, springy front basket, bell, and self-powered lights (pedaling generates energy to light them up).

The bikes were found to be a little bit less than smooth at making tight turns and, at 40 pounds, a bit hefty. They're not meant to be lifted up to go on, say, a bus rack, though—a Metro rep emphasizes they're for cruising and closing that important first-mile/last-mile transit gap.

Potential riders can register for passes here prior to the launch; riders can add a pass to their existing TAP card or get a new card with a cool bike share design. (Up-to-date information on walk-up rates, as well as monthly and "flex" passes can be found here.)

The release from Metro revealing the official launch date adds that bike share rides will be "accessible exclusively to pass holders from July 7 until August 1, 2016," at which point they'll be open to everyone, walk-up customers included.

Once people have their passes, taking out and returning a bike will be a piece of cake. This video from Metro shows it as a smooth, four-step process.

Starting in early June, people will start to see installation of the bike hubs around DTLA, with work expected to continue right up to opening day on the first wave of the program.

Metro's also looking to expand into Pasadena and is in talks with 15 other communities across LA County, from the San Gabriel Valley to the San Fernando Valley, to bring the program countywide, their bike share rep tells KPCC. Metro's bikes will have a different operator than the ones in Santa Monica and Westwood, and won't be compatible with them, unfortunately, but at least it looks like there will be plenty of other places to go on these bikes.