ROCK FALLS – It’s a nice, warm fall, so how’s about enjoying a bike ride down by the canal?
No bike? No problem.
Rock Falls Tourism on Tuesday announced the launch of its new bike-sharing program.
At RB&W Park along the riverfront downtown and behind the Days Inn at 2501 First Ave./state Route 40 sit two new bike racks stocked with a total of eight bright orange bikes, sized for teens or adults, and available for $1.50 an hour.
The only catch? Riders must download the Koloni Share app to their smartphones, sign an agreement and have the Bluetooth-controlled bikes back in the rack no later than 9 p.m.
The bikes are equipped with GPS trackers, so anyone who misses the deadline or leaves a bike out in the community could incur penalties.
The deadline is to keep the riding option in line with the city’s curfew and make it so police won’t need to chase down bikes into the night, Tourism Director Megan Horsman said.
It’s also about safety: Officials don’t want people out riding out when visibility is low.
The idea is to provide the community and its visitors an alternate way to check out the city, maybe do a little shopping (each bike has a basket) and explore the Hennepin Canal.
“I think it’ll get people to use the canal more, to explore the canal more, if they have a method of transportation that’s more enjoyable and covers more ground than walking,” Horsman said.
The city and Rock Falls Tourism will maintain them, and monitor their condition, the frequency of their use, and their treatment.
They will be available until November, or until the first snowfall, then will be put in storage until April, weather permitting, or May at the latest.
“This is pretty much a summer thing,” Horsman said, but the department is rolling the program out now so it can iron out any bugs.
“If you happen to be out enjoying the bikes, take a picture and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or put it on Facebook or Instagram and tag @visitrockfalls,” Horsman said in the release announcing the pilot program.
“We would love to see the community out enjoying the bikes.”