Residents and visitors alike will soon have access to a new feature in the community that will enhance recreational and wellness opportunities. Launching in the spring, Wheeling will be home to West Virginia’s first community-wide bike share program made possible through a partnership with The Health Plan.
Director of Parks and Recreation Jesse Mestrovic explained that bike share is a service that allows the public to access bicycles on a short-term basis for a minimal fee. Wheeling’s program will kick off with 10 bikes that will be stationed near WesBanco Arena.
“To rent one these bikes, you will need a smartphone. You will also need to download the Movatic app, complete the registration including credit card information and follow the prompts. Users will then be able to undock their bikes from the solar-powered stand with the use of Bluetooth technology,” Mestrovic said. “To return the bike, the rider will simply roll the bike to the docking station, secure the lock to the rack pin and press the ‘end rental’ button on the app.”
Mestrovic noted the fees collected from the rentals will go toward the maintenance of the program. He also acknowledged the Wheeling-Ohio County CVB, Wheeling Heritage, Ohio Valley Trail Partners/Bike Wheeling and Project Best for their support of this project.
Jim Pennington, president and CEO of The Health Plan, is pleased to partner with the City of Wheeling for such a program.
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“After seeing how successful our employee bike share was here at The Health Plan, we were excited to partner with the City of Wheeling to allow the same opportunity to all members of our community with the first bike share program in West Virginia. Having a bike share downtown will not only help get our community more active, but it will also give folks a more active transportation option for short trips. I’m looking forward to seeing how this initiative is received by the community and hope to see lots of green bikes on the trail and around town this spring.”
City Manager Robert Herron said the city has an investment in the trail network and is happy to encourage people to utilize what the city has to offer.
“I am pleased that we will now be able to provide more access to cycling in Wheeling. We have a great trail system and having bicycles available for rent enhances health and wellness opportunities in our community. The Health Plan is the perfect title sponsor for this program, and this is a great way to encourage our community to become more active,” Herron said.
With his eye on the future, Mayor Glenn Elliott said The Health Plan is helping to lay the foundation for a program that has great growth potential.
“Our goal is to, at some point, expand the bike share to other locations throughout the city to trailheads in places like Warwood, Elm Grove, Clator and Centre Market. We hope interest in the program develops and makes this goal a reality,” Elliott said, noting such a program enhances tourism experiences in Wheeling and promotes a healthy lifestyle for the community.