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Santa Monica Bike Center Kicks Off New Commuter Program
By Jason Islas
July 27, 2012 -- Santa Monica’s Bike Center will start a new free program Friday to entice commuters to get out of their cars and on to bikes.
The program will allow commuters to borrow a bike from the center for two weeks so long as they sign a pledge that they will ride it at least six times.
“We’re going to provide a commuter bike for people to try out,” said Ron Durgin, the center'[s manager, adding that the bikes are “decked out” with racks, lights, cycle computers, fenders and even locks.
Participants will also get a route planning session and guidance on rules of the road.
If they choose, participants can also get a child seat, a front basket and a helmet.
“The expectation is that participants will use their own bikes for commuting after experiencing commuting with our trial bike,” Durgin said.
For the program, the City’s Planning and Transportation Department bought the Center five new bikes, complete with accessories, for a total of $3,500, said Durgin.
Durgin added that the program is also a great way to learn about the Bike Center, which is located in the heart of Downtown at the corner of Colorado Avenue and Second Street in the Santa Monica Place mall.
As part of the deal, commuters will get a pass to use the center -- which has secure bike parking, showers and lockers -- during the two weeks.
On top of that, if commuters pledge to ride at least twice a week after the program, Durgin said, they will get a free 90-day pass for the Bike Center.
Brad Edwards, general manager for Helen’s Cycles in Santa Monica, is excited about the program.
“I believe it will provide an opportunity for people to experience what bike commuting has to offer without the initial cost,” he said. “It can be pricey. Not as pricey as driving, but we’re used to those costs.”
To help with the initial costs of bike commuting, he added, Helen’s Cycles will offer a discount on commuter bikes to anyone who completes the two-week program.
Though, he said, the details still need to be worked out.
Durgin is optimistic. He hopes that by the time the program has been running for a year, 100 people will have tried it out.
He said that he was meeting with his first “pilot” -- as Durgin calls the participants -- on Friday.
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