The city of Kokomo launched yet another free amenity for the public last week, opening its free bike rental service to the masses.
Last Wednesday the city’s Koko-Go Free Ride bike rental service launched, housed in a structure along the trail system behind The Foxes Trail at 307 S. Main St. Now, anybody hoping to travel the ever-expanding Kokomo trail system can rent a bicycle and coast through the City of Firsts for three hours, free of charge.
“A lot of people are doing the rental where the bikes have all the rental apparatus on it. I’ve tried this throughout several different communities,” said Kokomo City Controller Randy Morris. “Myself, the mayor, and a couple others have done extensive research on this, talked to several bike rental services, and we feel like this is the best one. We feel like the trail system we have, all the options for dining and entertainment along our trail, we thought it was a great complement to our downtown. It was a natural project to coincide, absolutely.”
Utilizing the service is simple. Those looking to rent a bike should venture to the bike share building on South Main Street. There, patrons will be required to sign a waiver, which at the moment is presented in paper form, but Morris said the city is working to implement an online waiver system. Then, bike renters present a credit card to the attendant at Koko-Go Free Ride, which will be held as a deposit. No charges will be added to the card as long as the rented bikes are returned “in the same condition it left in” within three hours.
Patrons then can opt to use a helmet, or not, and select their bikes. As of now, 24 adult “walk-through” bikes are available, as are four children’s bikes and two bikes equipped with tagalongs for children aged 5 to 8. One tandem bicycle also is available for rent.
From there, bikers are free to venture where they please, and Morris said the program is a perfect complement to all the businesses along the trail, and for those looking to stop, locks are included with the bicycles.
“We feel like this is more than a bike rental,” said Morris. “It’s a way that we can show off everything Kokomo has to offer along the trails. If somebody comes up and says, ‘I’m new in town,’ they’re going to be able to offer up all these great things along the trail.”
And, for the time being, Koko-Go Free Ride may be the only free bike rental service within the state of Indiana. Morris said he’s heard of others in the state that charge a fee, but he’s only found one free bike program, and it was outside the state.
Koko-Go Free Ride opened for full operations on July 3. Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
According to Morris, the program will be seasonal and open “as long as weather permits.”