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BikeWillmar gets ready to start up

Willmar is planning on bringing out the bikes for the city's bike share program, BikeWillmar. Staff is working on how to allow users to be able to disinfect the bikes between uses.

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BikeWillmar, the bike share program in Willmar, will start up early next week. City staff will clean the bikes each day and there will be disinfectant at each bike hub, to allow the public to clean the high-touch area before and after each ride. Erica Dischino file photo / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR โ€” While the start of the biking season might have been slightly delayed by the coronavirus, the city of Willmar is planning on getting its bikes out for public use.

This will be the second season for BikeWillmar, the city's bike share program. The city purchased 40 bikes and 10 hubs from Koloni and placed them across the city. The bikes can be rented for $1 per hour by using the Koloni cell phone app and a credit card.

Rob Baumgarn, Willmar Parks and Recreation director, said some bikes should be out at the hubs by early next week.

"We might start with a few bikes at each place," Baumgarn said. "Our goal is to do all 40 bikes, phase them in."

Due to the coronavirus, the city held off bringing the bikes out, but after a discussion at Monday's Willmar City Council Labor Committee, the call was made to get the program up and running.

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Under the governor's executive order and state Department of Natural Resources recommendations, the city can start up BikeWillmar, as long as there is way for the bikes to be cleaned between uses. Baumgarn said staff is working on providing a spray bottle of disinfectant at each bike hub. Staff will also be cleaning the bikes every day.

"There is going to be some personal responsibility as well," Baumgarn said. It will be up to the public who use the bikes to give the seat and handlebars a quick clean.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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