QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Over the summer, a rental bike service that’s seen great results in places like Albany, Troy, and Saratoga Springs tried things out on a different scale – one based around not a central city, but rather a path running through a few.
The CDPHP Cycle! rental bike program reported over 1,000 rides recorded on the 24 rental bikes stationed this summer at four locations across Warren County, all near the Warren County Bikeway, and now including one at SUNY Adirondack.
Although the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) didn’t have strict numbers in mind when they placed those bikes in Glens Falls, Lake George, and Queensbury, they’re very happy with the results. And CDTA Chief Executive Director Carm Basile points out that this is just the beginning.
“With another year of getting people educated, informed, part of the program, there’s nowhere to go but up.” He said on Thursday.
The program in question gives riders the opportunity to rent a bike using a mobile app or credit card. Riders in the four cities where it’s previously been available – Albany, Schenectady, Troy, and Saratoga Springs – use the service for a mix of recreation and work transportation.
Although the summer is over, the bikes will stay out until the end of November. That’s long enough to get some use out of the most recent four units, stationed at SUNY Adirondack.
Basile said he’s heard of a lot of versatile use being gained from those units already, with the college positioned on the edge of Queensbury and Glens Falls, but not within walking distance from many businesses.
“As an avid bicyclist myself, I’m thrilled that CDPHP Cycle! is available to SUNY Adirondack
students,” said Kristine D. Duffy, Ed.D., President of SUNY Adirondack in a press release on Wednesday. “The program offers students a practical, environmentally friendly mode of transportation and, as important, a great way to stay fit, relieve stress, and enjoy the beauty of this region.”
Over the summer, the majority of Warren County bike use has been recreational. That said, Basile says the group who relies on those bikes on the day-to-day has made its way north as well; and the new campus rides will continue that growth.
“I think sometimes the assumption is, ‘hey look at those bikes, they’re cute,’ and assume that people tend to use them for half an hour, cycling around, having fun, the wind blowing through their hair,” he said. “True; some people do. But the majority have a reason – a purpose – for that trip.”
That trip can be anything from getting to or from work, to stopping at CVS to pick up a prescription.
In fact, that’s part of the convenience. The bikes are GPS-tracked and can be left anywhere in or around the county. That’s where the 30-year strong relationship between CDTA and Greater Glens Falls Transit (GGFT) comes in.
When bikes are left, it’s GGFT staff who come and retrieve them. The company already runs transit lines around the county, and even poked into Hudson Falls and Fort Edward in the one next door.
One might wonder if some bikes were harder to get to in a county-wide service area full of winding roads than they would be in a larger city.
Basile agreed that Lake George and Glens Falls are extremely different markets from Albany. But how were the 24 Adirondack-adjacent bikes treated?
“If anything, better than in other parts of our region. We didn’t get any big surprises, so hats off to the people in those communities.”
Basile couldn’t say just yet whether more bikes, or more rental locations, would be added in 2022. He sees the upcoming second year as important for establishing the bikes as a permanent part of the community, as they are further south.
Recently, Warren County held a hearing on the possibility of allowing motor-assisted electric bicycles onto the bike path. The CDPHP bike catalog does include some models that feature those motors.
Again, though, that’s a conversation for the off-season.
“When the bikes are hibernating, we’ll start talking with local leadership and seeing what we want to do,” Basile said.
The program also announced this week that it had hit the 50,000-ride mark in 2021.