Mount a bicycle and explore Columbia County on two wheels. That’s what Columbia County officials are urging residents to do by adding rental bicycles at Evans Towne Center Park.
“It basically just adds another convenient amenity to Evans Towne Center Park,” said Barry Smith, county Community and Leisure Services Division director.
County officials approved about $41,000 in the fall to purchase a Bcycle kiosk. Seven Trek bicycles were put in a docking station at the park on Thursday and will be ready for guests to rent by March 1.
“These are nice bikes,” Smith said. “They are sturdy bikes.”
Guests can rent the bicycles for $8 for two hours and $1 for each additional 30 minutes. Annual passes, allowing two hours of bike rentals per day will be available for $65, Smith said.
Brett Ardrey, owner and operator of Outspoken, a local bicycle company, and a small team put the blue and silver aluminum bicycles together Wednesday.
Ardrey said the bicycles will be popular because people moving to the area will appreciate the county’s progressive step in recreation.
“So this would be an attraction for why somebody would want to live in Columbia County, because they are progressive,” Ardrey said. “They are using ultimate means of transportation and they’re setting that up already.”
A contract with Outspoken was approved Tuesday to maintain the bicycles. The bi-weekly maintenance will include cleaning the bicycles, checking the bicycles and the docking station, pumping up the tires and checking nuts and bolts.
Each bicycle is outfitted with a GPS unit to keep track of the bike’s location. The county’s Bcycle Web site, www.columbiacountybcycles.com, allows residents to check bicycle availability as well as check their mileage.
Smith said the GPS and Web site also will give county officials important information about how long people typically rent the bikes, patterns of use and where renters take them.
This is the start hopefully of more docking stations that are going to be placed throughout the county in various parks,” Smith said.
Ardrey said he only sees one potential problem with the rentals – not enough kiosks. He said those wanting to rent the bicycles might get frustrated, but that would only lead to more dockings stations in the county.