Star Herald Editorial

'Borrow-a-bike' becomes reality thanks to local businesses

By Jane Wildung-Lanphere, Luverne Area Chamber Director

With the development of the Luverne LOOP over the last five years, the CVB recognizes that Luverne will have the potential to be a family biking destination. With the LOOP completed and connected to the Blue Mounds Trail, our community will have a wonderful 13-plus mile biking/walking trail. A trail that size is eligible to be designated as a significant trail in statewide publications.

One of the recognizable challenges in promoting a biking trail is that most trails have bike rentals available. At this time our community is not able to support a business of that size, and that is why the CVB has its own plans to have rental bikes available.

Over a year ago, the Minnesota State Health Improvement Program (SHIP) contacted us to let us know that there were grant funds available to allow communities to purchase bikes or biking equipment. Within a few months, the program concept was developed and a grant application was submitted.

This grant helped the CVB to purchase 12 universal coaster bikes with a great partnership (and maintenance agreement) with Ken Petersen of Ken’s Bike Shop in Luverne.

One of the next major challenges in setting up the program was finding a convenient location and business operations where the bikes could be stored and loaned. The CVB realized that to accommodate the needs of visitors and residents, we needed to have a partner who would be able to offer the loan program 24/7.

The CVB approached another locally owned business to find the answer. The GrandStay Hotel & Suites was asked if they would be willing to loan the bikes through their front desk. They quickly and graciously agreed.

One of the other important questions that was asked was how the CVB would support the maintenance of the bikes. That is where additional Luverne businesses and individuals were approached, and soon the CVB had what was estimated to be enough annual maintenance money to keep the program going.

Twelve businesses, individuals and organizations agreed to fund the program at $150 year. These funds will be used for regular maintenance, repair and hopefully the purchase of additional bikes.

We are proud to identify the following businesses, organizations and individual as the 2018 Roll On Luverne sponsors: Den Herder Construction, Exchange State Bank, First Farmers & Mer-chants Bank, Katie Hemme, Ken’s Bike Shop, Luverne Area Chamber, Luverne CVB, Mike Davis Tree Trimming, Papik Motors, REMAX Land & Home, Sanford Luverne and Those Blasted Things. In honor of their support and partnership, each bike is individually identified with the sponsor’s name on the basket.

There is one great advantage in creating a program locally: you can make it simple and easy to use for visitors and residents. To use the Roll On Luverne bike loan program, simply walk up to the front desk at the GrandStay, sign a waiver, leave a credit card or driver’s license, and a bike is free to use up to 24 hours.

There is no cost and no hassle. Helmets are recommended but are not provided by the Roll on Luverne program.

Celebrate with us at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, for the ribbon cutting at GrandStay Inn and Suites in Luverne. (See the front page story for details.)

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