Explore Bike Share helps Memphis "Ride Out" the pandemic with free bike rentals through April 19

[Updated April 28, 2020: Free Explore Bike Share rides are now available through May 20]

On March 20, Explore Bike Share announced its new community campaign, “Let’s Ride This Out," in response to COVID-19.

Now through April 19, bike share rentals are free of charge to all Memphians. EBS hopes the free rides will help keep Memphians active and provide a healthy outlet for boredom. 

“Despite social distancing precautions, which we in Memphis should be abiding by, riding a bike is a safe and reliable form of solo exercise,” said Anton Mack, Explore Bike Share’s executive director in a press release.

The Safer at Home Executive Order, issued by Mayor Jim Strickland on March 23, requires Memphis residents to stay in their homes unless performing an essential task or service. The order is currently in place through April 7, 2020.

EBS confirmed with High Ground on March 24 that they will still be operational and offering free rides as planned. 

Strickland has encouraged Memphians who are not showing signs of illness to go outside, walk, and ride bikes. The only rule is to maintain a minimum of six feet between individuals who do not live in the same household.

Riders can still adhere to CDC and city guidelines while taking advantage of the bike rentals as a way to practice wellness or navigate their neighborhoods.

“Finding joy is critical during this time,” said Jennifer Oswalt, President & CEO of the Downtown Memphis Commission, a system sponsor in a written statement.

“We see free bike usage as a way to get outside to enjoy a moment of sunshine and explore your Downtown. Free bikes can also aid restaurant delivery staff and patrons and provide a little bit of help to our restaurant industry," Oswalt continued.

Memphians can access the free bike rentals through any EBS payment kiosk, through the BCycle app, or at explorebikeshare.com. For more information on EBS’ measures to support COVID-19 prevention, click here.

The rental is only free for the first 60 minutes, but riders can simple dock the bike at any station and check it back out again to continue their ride. 

Concerned about the spread of coronavirus using a shared bicycle?

EBS has stepped stepped up daily sanitization protocols to reduce the spread of the coronavirus including:
  • Disinfecting bikes and stations based on CDC guidelines frequently throughout each day
  • Educating all employees on CDC-recommended personal hygiene practices 
  • Equipping employees with sterile gloves and disinfectant products when in contact with any bikes, parts, and maintenance equipment
  • Requiring all employees to wash their hands and disinfect all equipment surfaces frequently throughout each day based on CDC guidelines

And just like a shopping cart at the grocery store, riders are encouraged to bring wipes and hand sanitizer to clean handles and touchscreens.

For more local COVID-19 resources from food and employment assistance to way to keep busy, check out High Ground's Memphis Area COVID-19 Resource Guide
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Read more articles by Ashley Davis.

Ashley Foxx Davis is an author, educator, artist and Memphis native. She's been featured in Glamour, Ebony, and Essence magazines; Blackenterprise.com; TheRoot.com; and BET.com. Find her at kifanipress.com.