Racking up bikes for public usage



May 18, 2017 - 12:00 AM

The Allen County Bike Share Program, a collaboration of Thrive Allen County and Velo+, affords those without bikes the opportunity to take a spin.
Sharing bikes is something that Thrive has been discussing for a while, Deputy Director Ben Alexander said. Frequently, major cities have programs in which users are charged by debit or credit card to rent a bike, but the infrastructure for those types of programs can be costly, he said. As part of a $3,000 pilot program, 10 bikes will be placed at three Iola locations; Thrive, Velo+ and Wavefire. The bikes may be checked out for a day or a weekend at a time. The program is free, but users must show identification.
The idea behind the program is for adults whose bike skills are rusty to try it again, and to participate in the organized trail rides held throughout the week. Humboldt, Moran and Mildred may be equipped with loaner bikes in the future, Alexander said. If the program goes well, bikes with baby seats and adult tricycles may be added, said Lisse Regehr, Director of Outreach and Advocacy.
“We are starting out small to see how the community embraces it,”  she said.
Three bikes placed in front of Thrive became available for public use Wednesday.
Regehr said bicycle enthusiasts frequently meet on Tuesdays in Humboldt to ride along the Southwind Trail with Iola’s Dairy Queen in mind. Wednesdays there are hour-long mountain bike rides through Lehigh Portland Trail system and on Thursdays riders meet at Cofachique Park. This month a family-friendly ride begins at Velo+ every Friday and riders will continue to meet monthly through the rest of the summer. 
 “We encourage people to get out and ride the bikes,” Regehr said. “It’s beautiful (weather) and we have beautiful trails and beautiful communities. Go out and explore!”
Interested cyclists should contact Thrive at (620) 228-5170 for more information about the bike sharing program or the organized bike rides.
May is National Bike Month.

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