(Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
Boston's new bike-sharing program officially launched today, with bicycles eventually available at 61 stations for jaunts around the city.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino presided over the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the program at 11 a.m. at City Hall Plaza. To celebrate its launch, registered Hubway members and employees of sponsors will ride 200 of the bikes around the city today.
“This is a great day for Boston,” Menino said. “New Balance Hubway promotes a new, environmentally friendly way of getting around and I hope that all residents use the system."
Some new customers welcomed the new outlet to traverse Boston.
Karly Burke, a Bay Village resident, said she joined the Hubway program last week and was excited about its arrival. As she checked out a bike in front of the Boston Public Library, she said she planned to use the bikes mostly "around town, for errands, and to meet people out."
As around one dozen of the first people to test the bikes cycled down Newbury Street, they said they were greeted with cheers and applause from onlookers.
“It was a really great ride, and nice having a big group,” said Kelly Gray, 30, a digital marketing manager at New Balance, the title sponsor of the new program. “There was a lot of excitement around the city.”
Gray, who owns and regularly rides her own bicycle, said the brand new, three-gear Hubway bikes were sturdy, easy to use, and the seats were “super comfortable.”
“I just rode from City Hall and my butt doesn’t hurt,” she said.
Of the bike stations, about 18 will be in the the Back Bay and Fenway-Kenmore, with four around the Boston University campus and Kenmore Square, stations near Fenway Park, Northeastern University, and Colleges of the Fenway, and Back Bay stations ranging from the Newbury Street to the Boston Public Library.
Bikes will also be available at three Beacon Hill stations: on Cambridge Street at Blossom Street; at the Charles Circle footbridge, and on Beacon Street at Brimmer Street. In Allston, there were seven active stations as of today.
The Hubway program allows people to rent one of about 600 bikes for short rides around the city. There are three membership options with varying prices: an annual subscription, a three-day membership, and a 24-hour membership.
Rides shorter than 30 minutes are free for all members, with charges accrued for each half-hour of riding time.
Washington, D.C., Montreal, and London have similar systems.
Also on-line: The Globe's Eric Moskowitz tested the Washington bike-sharing system.
Correspondent Jamie Lutz contributed to this report.