On May 1, Cincinnati will join Chicago and Santa Monica as the third Bike and Park center in the country.
Jared Arter is busy mapping out tours and getting the center ready to open. Arter has worked at the Chicago Bike Center for almost six years and moved to Cincinnati in February to open up shop here.
Cincinnati was next on the list for Bike and Park after Steve Schuckman, superintendent of planning, design and facilities for the Cincinnati Park Board, wrote and distributed the RFP in November, 2009. Bike & Park was one of the respondents to the Park Board's RFP and was chosen in 2011 to run the Bike, Mobility and Visitors Center.
"There's a need, and a lot of people were behind it," Arter says.
The Bike and Park Center will open the Cincinnati Bike Center at 120 E. Mehring Way under the event lawn in Smale Riverfront Park, next to the Moerlein Lager House. The center will serve several different purposes for cyclists. For a monthly fee of $25, commuters can use the indoor, two-level, bike parking, showers and lockers. For a higher monthly fee, they can get towel service and a permanent locker.
"In Chicago and Santa Monica, in addition to bike-commuters, a lot of the members are people who want to go for a run during the work day, then use the showers," Arter says. "One of the biggest complaints about riding to work is showing up all sweaty. This is a great resource for that."
The bike center will also house about 100 rental bikes that can be rented on an hourly basis. They will come with a lock, helmet and map of the city. Tours are also in the works. From a riverfront cruise, to neighborhood tours on bikes and Segways, the center will offer several options, which will each last around two hours. Tours will cost around $35 for bikes and $55 for Segways.
With all those bikes tooling around the city, a flat tire or broken chain is bound to happen, so the bike center will employ an in-house mechanic to make sure all the bikes, even your personal cycle, are ready to roll. Mechanics will also host workshops to help educate riders on how to keep their cycles in pristine condition.
"We'll do everything from tune-ups to repairing flats," Arter says. "I think it is a needed addition to downtown."
By Evan Wallis