Free bikes will soon be available at Rock Hill's Knowledge Park and Winthrop University, after Comporium unveiled a bike share program Tuesday morning.
Riders can find the bikes in three locations right now: at Fountain Park on the corner of Main Street and Elizabeth Lane; at The Anderson apartments on the corner of Main Street and Dave Lyle Boulevard; and at Legal Remedy Brewing on Oakland Avenue.
Comporium's executive vice president and chief operating officer Matthew Dosch said two new locations are in the works, on Winthrop's campus at West Center and at Richardson Hall.
"Downtown Rock Hill is experiencing a revival, and ensuring that the growth in our downtown area includes a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly approach has been a priority of civic leaders," Dosh said.
"The Bike Share program is about connecting our community, promoting healthier lifestyles and it jump-starts plans to bring more foot-powered traffic downtown."
Riders can access the bikes online or through a free app. Riders claim and unlock the bike and then can ride through the surrounding area before returning the bike to a hub.
Dosch said the program is different from other bike share programs because the first two hours of each ride are free.
Rock Hill Mayor John Gettys said the bike share program shows that Comporium is invested in Knowledge Park, and has been a leader in development in Rock Hill.
He said the program is another amenity that both Rock Hill residents and visitors can enjoy every day.
"The one thing that we've established in Rock Hill the last 30 years is that the people of Rock Hill love to play," Gettys said. "And this gives us another opportunity to play together, in Knowledge Park and in downtown."
Dosch said the bikes will be especially useful when the indoor sports complex planned for Knowledge Park launches.
He said visitors to the complex will be able to use bikes from expanding locations to "explore more of downtown Rock Hill than they would have otherwise."
Comporium has had a "front row seat" to increasing development in Rock Hill, Dosch said, and the bike share program seemed like a good fit.
The bike manufacturer, Gotcha Bikes, reports that since a similar program's launch in Charleston last year, more than 5,826 residents and tourists have taken 19,522 trips on a Gotcha Bike.
"It felt like the time was right," Dosch said. " And hopefully people will be excited when they see the bikes and start cruising around."
Create an account online:
Sign up for the bike share program online at http://gotchabike.com/comporium/ or by downloading the Social Bicycles app.