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Santa Monica Bike Center Celebrates First Year

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

November 16, 2012 -- The Santa Monica Bike Center at Second Street and Colorado Avenue will celebrate its first year of operations this weekend with two rides, including a “Sweet Spots” tour, taking residents to places around town where they can grab treats.

To round-off what Bike Center officials are calling “a very good first year,” residents will be invited to take a tour of bakeries and ice-cream shops around town on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, there will be a mountain bike ride, led by the Center's mechanic.

Santa Monica Bike Center “is the largest in the country,” said Jeremy Rothschild, director of marketing for Bike and Park.

The Santa Monica Bike Center, with more than 350 secure bike parking spaces, showers, lockers, bike rentals and tours, as well as a staffed repair center, currently has over 200 active members, according to Rothschild.

“We've operated the only year-round bike valet in Santa Monica and in 2012 alone, over 1,800 bike have been valet parked,” he added.

Durgin has been happy with the first year, too.

“We've been able to develop a financially sustainable business model in our first year and provide the services that the City wants to provide to the local community,” he said.

One of those services is a commuter bike loaner program, through which residents are able to try out a “fully-equipped” commuter bike for two weeks, free of charge.

“We've had 16 people since August,” said Rothschild, but since there are currently only two bikes, that means they've had them constantly loaned out since the program started.

“There's a waiting list,” he said. Of the people who have participated in the program “25 percent of those people have purchased a bike after,” he said.

Durgin said that the center likes to have “non-traditional programs” as well. “It keeps it interesting,” he said.

One of those “non-traditional programs” includes a ride for Santa Monica's seniors. The “soft pedallers” ride started in early October as a joint effort between the Bike Center and the City's Commission for the Senior Community.

The Center has also spearheaded some 30 educational programs, free to members, centered around the “fundamentals of cycling,” said Rothschild.

Those include bike safety and maintenance.

“I think there's a very strong desire to increase the number of educational programs,” Rothschild said.

Bike Center officials are also starting to design more tours through the City, though the details have yet to be worked out.

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