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Apr 22, 2013 10:15 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

Tucson Parks and Rec ventures into the bike rental business

TUCSON- Jesse Butler usually visits Lincoln Park to walk his two dogs.

But the next time he stops by it might be for a bike ride. "We don't have bicycles so that's why we don't bike around, but now that I know that they're renting bicycles we may rent on occasion," Butler says.

Right now Lincoln Park located at 4325 South Pantano Road is the only Tucson City park renting out bicycles to visitors.

The idea was formed in March, after construction wrapped up on the park's new Atterbury Wash Greenway Path. "It's a great fitness program and it's fun for a family to rent a bike from our facility, have a picnic at the park and then take the bike back," says Liz Baechler of Tucson Parks and Recreation. "They don't have the expense of having to go purchase a bike themselves."

Cyclists can rent a bike Monday thru Saturday. It costs $2 per hour for pass holders, $5 per hour for non pass holders, and $10 per hour for a family. Youth 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Lincoln Park currently offers three miles of bike path and Butler says it's the perfect place to ride. "There aren't very many hills to come up and it's curvy, so that makes it interesting," Butler says.

If the idea picks up at other city parks, it could be good news for Parks and Recreation. Budget cuts have forced the department to chop about $8 million since 2008. "I don't know if a small bike rental program is going to help, but as my administrator always says, a nickel here, a nickel there, always helps," Baechler says.

Either way it's a chance for bicycle lovers to enjoy the park, without the hassle of buying a bike or having to transport it from home.

Right now Lincoln Park is renting out eight bikes, but it is looking for more. To learn how you can donate a bike, contact Liz Baechler at 837-8103 or Liz.Baechler@Tucsonaz.gov

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