CAPITAL REGION -- Here's one way to look at it: People using bike-sharing bicycles burned enough calories to make up for eating nearly 7,200 slices of pepperoni pizza, at 300 calories per slice.
That means riders of the CDPHP Cycle! bikes burned roughly 2,156,686 calories over the 2018 season, by an estimate provided by program administrators. The bike-share program's season -- its second, just ended.
Officials said the program has grown to include more than 6,600 members who made 23,535 trips by bicycle and rode 53,917 miles over the course of the season. Members pay $5 per hour of riding time to use the bikes.
The program, which provides lime-green rental bikes at dozens of automated kiosks in Schenectady, Saratoga Springs, Albany and Troy, saw more ridership during its April-to-November season than officials expected.
"It's great to be able to do something where you're not sure initially if it's going to work, and then you get a warm feeling right in the middle of doing it," said Capital District Transportation Authority CEO Carm Basile.
CDTA operates the bike-share program, with corporate sponsorship from CDPHP, a regional health insurance firm.
CDTA officials said in September they had already met their original goals for 2018 ridership, as ridership exceeded 15,000 trips. The program started mid-year in 2017, and when it opened in the spring, it had doubled the number of kiosk locations to more than 40.
In the 2017 season, just over 11,000 rides were taken.
"Supporting CDPHP Cycle! was a no-brainer from the start, but when I see results like these, it further cements our commitment to giving our community a healthier mode of transportation to choose from," said Dr. John D. Bennett, president and CEO of CDPHP.
The city of Albany saw the most bike rentals, as many users pedaled to and from work. The second-busiest city was Saratoga Springs, where many rides were believed to be recreational. Troy and Schenectady trailed the two other cities but still saw increased numbers from the first season. CDTA, however, could not provide a detailed breakdown of ridership numbers on Wednesday.
"Ridership is up everywhere," said Jonathan Scherzer, CDTA's director of marketing.
Basile said there is a possibility for expansion in 2019, into "smaller downtowns," but he wouldn't say where CDTA was considering adding rental kiosks.
CDTA recently entered a "universal access" agreement with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which allows enrolled RPI students to borrow bikes for free.
"We've been only a very short time at RPI, but you an see the ridership gain in Troy," Basile said.