Who knew back in June 2008 when Bike Pottstown, a free community bike share program, was finally realized and rolled out, that it would become the envy of Philadelphia and make the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper and other regional news outlets! What started out as just a seed of an idea planted by Dale Mahle, past President of the TriCounty Chamber of Commerce, has blossomed into a successful community program that is already putting Pottstown “on the map.”
Bike Pottstown was a giant collaborative effort that included the hard work and dedication of many people and organizations, including GVF Transportation, the Borough of Pottstown, the TriCounty Chamber of Commerce, Preservation Pottstown, Tri County Bicycles and the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. Preservation Pottstown, a non-profit organization run by volunteers, was responsible for writing the initial grant to get the wheels rolling, and they continue to function as the financial agent for the program. For a complete list of contributors, visit Bike Pottstown.
When Bike Pottstown launched, it had five bikes. Today, 30 bikes are housed, maintained and shared at Tri County Bicycles at 256 E. High Street, plus an additional four are shared at the Schuylkill River Heritage Center. To date, more than 3,000 bikes have been shared. “It’s all about the simplicity of the program,” remarks John DiRenzo, Owner, Tri County Bicycles. “We have kept the rules uncomplicated and because of that, it’s easy and convenient for people to check out a bike and go for a ride.”
John DiRenzo was part of the initial research team put together to make Bike Pottstown happen. “When I came to Pottstown, Preservation Pottstown asked me to become involved. I had no experience with bike sharing, but I took a shot and it has been a positive experience.” When asked what the community thinks about Bike Pottstown, DiRenzo comments, “Everyone thinks it’s great, especially when they hear it’s free. People are very respectful of the bikes and we’ve had very little damage. It’s been a pleasure being the hub for Bike Pottstown and getting to meet the community face-to-face.”
Bike Pottstown bikes are available Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In order to use a bike, riders must leave a valid form of ID at the bike shop. Bikers may keep the bikes until closing hours, and helmets and locks are available.