Bikes for health: Free to ride
BY P.J. LASSEK World Staff Writer
Saturday, June 02, 2007
The high-tech system that will provide free use of the bikes will have to be tested before riders can take off.
A fleet of pink bicycles is arriving in River Parks.
Although some of the colorful, 35-pound, single-gear bikes were delivered Friday, the "Tulsa Townies" are not yet ready for public use.
A public announcement will be made when the bikes are available at three "cycle stations" -- north of 21st Street, 41st Street, and south of 96th Street, and at a site in Sands Springs River City Park just east of Oklahoma 97.
The bikes, which will be free to users, are part of a pilot program designed to promote healthy lifestyles, said John-Kelly Warren, chief executive of the William K. Warren Foundation.
The Warren Medical Research Foundation is providing funding.
Unlike other free bicycle programs, Warren said, this one uses a high-tech, credit-card-swipe system to free bikes from a locking rack.
The one-of-a-kind system was designed specifically for this program by QI Systems, said Donna Swaffar, director of marketing for St. Francis Health System.
Solar, wireless and radio frequency technologies allow the system to not only release and relock the racks, but to track the bicycles, Swaffar said.
Warren said like any pilot program using newly designed technology, "You definitely have to work the kinks out. That's what we're doing. This program is being tested."
He said the public will see bikes at all of the racks because the testing includes checking out a bike from one location and returning it at another.
Swaffar said the testing is expected to take several weeks.
Once the program is ready for public use, riders can access a bike by using a credit card. Riders are responsible for returning the bike to its original site or one of the other three sites.
If that bike is stolen or not returned, the rider's credit card will be charged $100.
The fleet will consist of 75 bikes. They are colored pink to honor St. Francis Health System and to discourage theft, Warren said.
The bikes will receive weekly maintenance, and bikes that are stolen or vandalized will be replaced.
P.J. Lassek 581-8382
Pink bicycles on way
River Parks visitors will soon be able to use free bikes located at several sites as part of a program funded by the
Warren Medical Research Foundation to encourage healthy lifestyles.