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Albert Lea’s area bike sharing program is officially open for business

A bike sharing program designed to make it easier for Albert Lea residents and visitors to bike in the community and on trails is officially open for business, according to a press release.

The two bike share station locations are at Frank Hall Park and at the North Broadway parking lot near the splash pad in downtown Albert Lea. The locations are located near the Blazing Star Trail and the Blue Zone Walkway.

The bike share program is self-serve and bikes can be rented for $2 per hour. Rental purchases and reservations are made online through www.iBikePort.com.

A local business owner and inventor, Bill Howe, said he had a vision for the need to allow easier access for recreation opportunities for the amenities the area has to offer.

“Build it, they will come,” Howe said in the release.

He has also provided the community with recreation self-serve stations that include kayaks, disc golf, horseshoes and pickleball, and plans to keep adding as the community continues to look into bringing other things to the area, the release states.

“This is another very positive amenity for Albert Lea,” said Bob Furland with Albert Lea’s Parks and Recreations Department. “It will make biking in the community and on our trails easier and more convenient.”

The bike stations are owned by the city of Albert Lea and managed by Parks and Recreation. Martin’s Cycling and Fitness will do the maintenance on the bikes.

Funding for the bike sharing program was made available through the Freeborn County Public Health Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP), which is operated by Freeborn County Public Health.

SHIP works to create community-driven solutions to expand opportunities for active living, healthy eating and commercial tobacco-free living, helping all people in Minnesota prevent chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes, according to the press release.

“Making these bikes available to community members and visitors is a simple way to make it easier to get exercise, stay fit and enjoy the outdoors,” said Lana Howe, Freeborn County SHIP coordinator.