MASON CITY, Iowa - It's been a long time coming, and now that the weather is nice, Mason City will soon be launching a new bike share program as soon as this week.
Mason City Bike Share will officially be unveiled to the public at a ceremony at Fat Hill Brewing this Thursday. The plan is to establish bikeshare stations at City Hall, East Park and at the MacNider Campgrounds, with 12 bikes available to rent.
Matt Curtis is the owner of Wayne's Ski and Cycle. He's used bike sharing programs in cities like Madison and Chicago, and believes it's the perfect way to see a city, and a perfect fit for Mason City.
"By the community having this to offer people coming into town, it's a great asset for the community. I think it's definitely something that will get utilized heavily downtown," Curtis says.
Steven Schurtz is a member of the city's Active Living and Transportation Commission, which has been planning the program for over a year. He agrees with Curtis and points out how it will benefit not just visitors, but Mason City residents as well.
"For Mason City, people who don't have a bike and want to ride, to people who are visiting our community, travelers, it gives them the opportunity to explore Mason City on a bike," Schurtz says.
Because the bikes will be outside on racks, some have concern over theft and vandalism. However, according to Curtis, vandalism isn't something to be worried about, because there is a plan in place.
"It's all phone-based and app-based, so they'll be able to see where the bikes are at and track them through GPS, so as far as theft and vandalism, they should be able to tell who used it last and where the bike went, so hopefully people will be respectful of the property," Curtis adds.
Curtis hopes that with projected success for the program, he sees it expanding further into the community.
"I think the bikeshare program has the potential to grow to other areas of the town. This is just a starting point to see how this goes, and see how much usage they get, and I think there's a good chance that this program can grow in the future as well," Curtis says.
In order to rent a bike, users will need to download the 'Koloni Share' app on their phone, and have a credit card on hand. Users will then need to type the four digit number for the bike they wish to rent (which can be found above the back tire), and the app will unlock the bike from the rack.
The first hour is free, with $2 being charged for every hour after that.