The City of Vancouver's long-awaited bike share program finally rolls out today with 250 bikes available to people who purchased founding memberships.

A founding membership plan, which ends July 31, is available for $99 for a year, with unlimited free rides that take less than half an hour.

The rental network — which will eventually include up to 1,500 bike — operates like a car share, with annual memberships and ride costs based on the amount of time the bikes are used.

Today, bikes will be available at 23 stations across the city. The service areas will include downtown Vancouver, and will be bordered by Arbutus Street, West 16th Avenue and Main Street. 

A second phase could broaden the zone from Macdonald Street in the west to Commercial Drive in the east.

"We're looking forward to this being just another option for people who are exploring the city and enjoying mobility," said Scott Edwards, the city's manager of public bike share.

Thief strikes early

Free helmets, which are locked to the bikes, are available to users. But at one station this morning the cord had been cut on one bike and the helmet was missing.

Edwards said he hopes vandalism can be minimized. If there is damage, the contractor is responsible for maintenance and repairs.

The city signed a five-year agreement with CycleHop Canada and Mobi to operate the program earlier this year.

mobi bike share

The cord on this Mobi bike share was cut and the helmet missing at a bike station under Vancouver's Cambie bridge. (Christer Waara/CBC)

Test drive

CBC Vancouver social media editor Tamara Baluja gave Mobi, Vancouver's bike share program, a spin and shared her experience on Snapchat.

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CBC Vancouver Snapcode

(CBC)

With files from Farrah Merali