Residents and visitors alike will now be able to take in a beautiful fall day on Wheeling’s Heritage Trail through the city’s new bike share program that opened for business today, Oct. 4. The first of its kind in West Virginia, the program was 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 kicked off with 10 bikes that will be stationed near the front entrance to WesBanco Arena and adjacent to Heritage Trail.
“These bikes are designed for leisure riding by adults and are considered a shared asset amongst the community. This new health and wellness initiative enhances one of the greatest assets we have in Wheeling, the Heritage Trail network. It gets more people active while simultaneously getting more people on bikes more often. Wheeling has a great biking community, and it provides additional opportunities for people to enjoy our wonderful trails,” he said.
Jim Pennington, president and CEO of The Health Plan, is pleased to partner with the City of Wheeling for such a program.
“We are excited to see this project finally come to fruition. Sponsoring the first community bike share of its kind in West Virginia, we are proud to help set a good example for how communities across the state can encourage healthier living and outdoor recreation.”
How do you rent a bike? Mestrovic explained patrons will need a smartphone and a credit card.
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“Download the MOVATIC app to your smartphone, create an account, enter your credit card number and follow the prompts. Location services and Bluetooth must be enabled on your phone for this system to work. Users will then be able to undock their bikes from the solar-powered stand,” he 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.”
Mayor Glenn Elliott said he is pleased that there will now be more access to cycling in Wheeling through bike share.
“We have a great trail system and having bicycles available for rent enhances health and wellness opportunities in our community for residents and those visiting our great city. The Health Plan is the perfect title sponsor for this program, and I am very appreciative of Mr. Pennington’s support of this project.”
Mestrovic said he hopes to be able 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. He noted the fees collected from the bicycle 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.