Saturday, September 5, 2009

Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau Now Renting Bicycles

The Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau now rents bicycles.

The program is new, and the Visitors Bureau hasn't had the opportunity yet to market the service. However, Deborah Ward, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, and Kathy Rocco, Manager of Visitor Information, were both happy to let me come in to check it out.

A few weeks ago, the Visitors Bureau took possession of several new Trek bicycles to rent by the hour or by the day. As an arm of the city government, the Bureau was eligible to receive a grant to help promote the city, and used the grant to buy the bikes and a service contract from Trek Omaha. The 10 bikes include several men's and women's Trek Lime bikes, and a few Trek M200 kid's mountain bikes. The rental price includes a helmet and a lock.

Even without any official marketing, the Bureau says interest in the rental program is high, and they have great hopes for the program.

  • $7 per hour
  • $15 – 3 hours
  • $28 – All day
Rental Hours
  • Monday - Friday: 8am - 4:30pm
  • Saturday: 9am - 4:30pm

The Bikes

The Trek Lime is a cruiser style bike with smooth riding fat tires and an upright seating position. They have an internally geared three-speed hub with an automatic shifting system. The bike detects when it needs to shift gears and does so automatically. Slowing and stopping are done using coaster brakes, actuated by pressing the pedals backwards. The seats have a small storage trunk under the saddle.

I rented a bike and took it for a spin around downtown Omaha, including the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, the most frequently inquired about bike destination, according to the Bureau.

Deborah Ward (L) and Kathy Rocco (R) pose with a rental bike at the Visitor's Bureau.

Outside the Omaha Public Library

Sullivan's Steakhouse

Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce

Hollywood Candy

The arch at the Gene Leahy Mall

Omaha's skyline from the Gene Leahy Mall

Omaha's skyline from the Heartland of America Park

The fountain at Heartland of America Park

Self portrait, also showing Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge at the National Parks Service building

The view from the saddle

The front hub seems to house some of the bike's automatic shifting mechanism

The box under the bottom bracket also seems to be involved in the automatic shifting

The rear hub featuring the internal gears

For some reason, this bike wouldn't go past the line into Iowa. Just kidding. Crossing the bridge and back is the most popular rental destination, according to the Bureau.

More than just an information center, the Vistors Center houses locally owned and operated City Brew Coffee Shop with free wi-fi Internet service.

If you're downtown and looking for a fun way to pass some time, as well as to see some of the downtown sights, park your car, rent a bike and cruise in style.


Biker Bob said...

Way cool. I'll have to go down and rent one some time this fall.

Good job on all the fun pictures.

I noticed they need to refine their bike lock strategy. Wrapping the lock around the seatpost isn't going to keep the bike very safe.

Anjanette said...

Gennaro de Concilio said...

very cool !