Which hotel in Dayton will be the first with bikes for guests?

Reader Jim passed this NYT article on bike rentals around the world. When in Berlin, my hotel had a few bikes for guests- and this was back in 1990. Why hasn’t a hotel in Dayton gotten in on this yet? Or has one?

The idea of having a bike sharing system in place can have a huge impact on getting tourists to explore our city “up close and personal”- you experience a city differently on a bike. An excerpt from the NYT article:

visiting a city that has a free (or nearly free) bike-rental program. Many of these are quite famous — Paris’s Vélib’ is probably the best known — but cities in North America including Montreal and Irvine, Calif., have inaugurated similar programs. Two years ago, Washington, D.C., started SmartBike DC (smartbikedc.com), in which a $40 annual subscription gets you access (in three-hour increments) to bicycles at 10 locations throughout the nation’s capital. Not a bad deal.

The other cities and towns with bike-sharing systems are too numerous to mention, but the Bike-Sharing Blog (bike-sharing.blogspot.com) and a Wikipedia article on bicycle sharing systems(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_sharing_system) keep good track of developments in that realm.

In a sign that more travelers are demanding bicycles, many hotels, including the Sullivans Hotel in Perth, Australia, and Hotel Heldt in Bremen, Germany, now offer them to paying guests. Last spring at the Ace Hotel in Portland, Ore., I was overjoyed to make use of the free bikes provided to guests, and while that sort of service was to be expected in the cycling capital of America, it’s nice to see it being expanded to other cities. Strangely enough, the New York branch of the Ace doesn’t have bikes, but both the Bowery Hotel and the Jane (where rooms start at a fantastic $99 a night) downtown offer bikes for guests.

via Pushing Pedals, Not Budgets – Frugal Traveler Blog – NYTimes.com.

Just think what free bikes on the Sinclair campus would do to get students off campus into the center city.

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11 Responses

  1. Emily April 21, 2010 / 10:19 pm
    Before we send people onto the road with bikes, we need to educate them on how to ride on the road with a bike. Many bicyclists I have seen wear no helmets, don’t signal, or ride in the turn lane (truth be told, I commit the first two offenses, but I only ride on neighborhood streets). I would prefer that Sinclair students and the like stay footbound unless there is a mandatory safety session. But maybe I’m underestimating the intelligence of our latent biking population.

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  2. jstults April 21, 2010 / 10:32 pm
    Emily, take a look at that bike share feasibility link; one of the big barriers to the program in Seattle is the mandatory helmet laws (people really don’t want to share helmets and having to lug one around all the time is inconvenient).

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  3. Emily April 21, 2010 / 10:59 pm
    I see the problem – helmets require forethought, which defeats ease of use. But, speaking as a bicyclist who has crushed one windshield with her own rear end and, out of sheer luck, managed to avoid breaking her (unhelmeted) head on the way down… it’s something that’s just got to be wrangled with. I am interested to know what DE would suggest as a workaround.

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  4. Emily April 21, 2010 / 11:02 pm
    Just wanted to mention the feasibility study spells out the helmet conundrum very clearly, so thanks for pointing me to it, jstults, in case it seemed like I hadn’t read it very closely. :)

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  5. David Esrati April 22, 2010 / 9:32 am

    The person who solves the helmet problem will make a lot of money.

    We don’t have helmet laws here in Ohio for Motorcycles- so you can obviously ride a bike without one.

    Studies have shown that when there are more bikes on the road- it’s safer for bicyclists.

    The best solution I can come up with on helmets- is skull caps – like you see Football players wear- I wear an Under Armor one under my hockey helmet and motorcycle helmet- and figure out a latch that works with the bike doc- so you can check out a helmet as well as a bike….

     

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  6. David Lauri April 22, 2010 / 11:00 am
    Why hasn’t a hotel in Dayton gotten in on this yet?
     
    I’ve lived in Berlin and Berlin has an urban core that’s more vibrant than the Dayton region’s, a core that is a tourist destination, unlike Dayton’s.
     
    Downtown Dayton has two hotels, the Crowne Plaza and the Doubletree, and even if there are tourists staying at either hotel (and I’d wager the majority who do stay at either hotel are not tourists), what would they want to see?  Riverscape?  You don’t need a bike to get to Riverscape from anywhere downtown — that’s walking distance.  The Paul Laurence Dunbar House?  Sure, that’d make for a decent bike trip, but I bet most tourists, rightly or wrongly, wouldn’t feel exactly safe biking over to it.  The Dayton Art Institute?  Again, a nice bike ride from downtown, but there are perceptions of safety (plus a hill). The Air Force Museum?  If you’re a tourist headed for the Air Force Museum, you’re probably not staying downtown or you don’t want to bike from downtown to it.
     
    Contrast the area around the Museuminsel (museum island) in the middle of Berlin.  There are over 9 hotels immediately nearby and more a bit beyond.  There are museums (duh), the Berliner Dom, the Rotes Rathaus, the Fernsehturm, etc., etc., and no perception (correct or otherwise) that one is unsafe.  There are bike lanes on every major thoroughfare through Berlin, lots of people do use bikes, pedestrians and drivers are trained to watch out for bikes.
     
    I don’t think your promoting bikes in Dayton is a bad idea, but I do think it has to start with Daytonians as opposed to tourists.  Until recently downtown Dayton streets didn’t even have bike lanes, although Jefferson St got one when it was repaved last year and I see St Clair getting one this week.
     
    The area around UD and Brown Street might theoretically be a good place for bicycling — it’d be a decent trip from the Marriott to restaurants or coffeehouses on Brown Street — but Brown Street itself north of Stewart is too congested with parking and traffic for safe bicycling (no bike lanes there).  Brown Street south of Stewart, near Milano’s and Boston Stoker is less dense.
     
    But I wonder, do most people staying at the Marriott not have cars, their own or rentals?  I bet most people staying at hotels in Berlin do not have cars.  So again, the main target wouldn’t be tourists coming to the area but rather people already living in the area, people who might be up for not taking their car and not having to be responsible for their own bikes.  Pick up a convenient Bcycle, bike over to the Boston Stoker, drop it off and no longer be responsible for it; pick up another one for the return trip.  Big difference from borrowing one from one’s hotel (even if one were inclined to want to) and having to be responsible if it gets stolen.

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  7. Ice Bandit April 22, 2010 / 10:23 pm
      Hey Dave. Too bad they just closed down the Royal and Dayton Motor Hotels on North Keowee Street. They could have been the first to offer those bikes. And the gals that used to stay there could peddle it all over town…..

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  8. FTLOD May 1, 2010 / 1:21 am
    Yes, the Marriott has bikes available for use by guests.  I’ve used them for rides while staying there and they are great for cruising the river corridor from Carillon Park to Riverscape.
    And in related news, Dayton was just recognized as a bronze-level bicycle friendly community by the American League of Bicyclists.

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  9. John Ise June 2, 2010 / 11:59 am

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