Emporia’s new bike share program is ready for community members to use. With a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, 24 new bikes are available at six solar powered stations.
These stations include Logan Avenue Elementary School, Emporia High School, Lee Beran Recreation Center, Do-B’s, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office and Crosswinds Counseling and Wellness.
The purpose of the bikes is to make more of Emporia accessible, but in order to rent a bike, cyclists need a smartphone to download the app and a credit or debit card to enter information.
“It’ll be really great for (people who can’t afford bikes) to be able to experience and help them get around and find a cheap way of getting from point a to point b instead of walking,” said Alex Barnes, president of the Hybrid Vigor Cycling Club on campus.
Jack Holmgren, ESU alum, said he would not use the program because he already has his own bike. He still thinks it will thrive in Emporia.
“Emporia is a very big cycling community already, and I believe it’s just the right size of town for a successful bike share program where you can rent a bike and ride almost anywhere in town,” Holmgren said.
Topeka has had the bike share installed since 2015. However, this upcoming December, the bike program will be done away with.
Melinda Williamson, owner of Morning Light Kombucha, said she finds the news shocking. She said it only costs her a couple of dollars to keep the bikes for nearly five hours at a time. Anytime she gets work done on her car, she is still able to make it to meetings because she uses the program.
The differences between the funding for Topeka and Emporia is not only that Topeka started with a more funding and more bikes, but that the Topeka funding came from capital money and tax dollars.
Emporia paid for the bikes through a Kansas Health Foundation grant, said Daphne Mertens, the grant manager for Emporia Bike Share. Emporia’s grant was for $84,000 but only $30,000 was used on the bikes share.
Mertens believes it will also be more successful in Emporia because they started out small. She said because Emporia is such a strong biking community and is a small town, the program will flourish.