Bike Sharing in New London and Mystic: Ride for Free (for Real!)

Ah, pedaling merrily along, fresh breeze, bright sun, birds chirping, heart pumping – is there a more joyous freedom in the universe?

The beauty of bicycling in our neck of the woods is the variety of terrain: shoreline, farmland, forest – even urban rides have their charm.

You don’t even to own or rent a two-wheeler.

Both New London and Mystic offer free loans of bicycles – that’s right, free – through sharing programs run by dedicated volunteers on a mission to get more people away from their cars and into a healthy, fun activity.

As Mystic Community Bikes notes on its website, bicycling not only reduces energy consumption, traffic congestion, noise and air pollution but also encourages physical fitness.

Both the Mystic and New London programs offers free use of a bike to anyone showing up at various distribution centers with a valid driver's license or ID, and a $10 refundable deposit. They even provide locks and helmets.

“We try to appeal to all levels, from people who commute on a $3,000 custom road bike or a kid on a BMX,” Rob Bareiss, chairman of Bike New London, told me the other day. “We focus on getting families out to ride, making streets safer for riding, and teaching safe-riding habits.”

In fact, the organization will be giving away up to 75 children’s helmets Sunday, June 30, courtesy of a generous donation by the New London Kiwanis Club, as part of it’s fifth annual Bike Fest. The free event, from noon to 3 p.m. at New London City Pier, also includes free bike repairs and tune-ups, a custom and vintage bicycle show featuring Rat Rod Bikes, free reflector tags from Connecticut’s “Share The Road” program, and a Parade of Wheels through downtown, beginning at 1.

Bareiss said Bike New London, which maintains a fleet of 12 bicycles, has seen usage double every year since the organization began five years ago.

Both groups rent adult touring bikes with baskets, ideal for pedaling around town but not for off-road riding or entering a time trial. As such, they don’t compete with local bike shops, and in fact are supported by bicycle storeowners and employees who help out with repairs.

New London bikes are available at the Water Street Parking Garage, conveniently located across from the train station, bus terminal and ferries.

More information about Bike New London is available by email at

bicyclenl@gmail.com or by calling (860) 912 6882.

Mystic Community Bikes has 10 distribution centers: Bank Square Books, 53 West Main St.; Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, 109 Pequotsepos Road; Howard Johnson Inn, 253 Greenmanville Ave.; Mystic Depot Welcome Center & Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce, 2 Roosevelt Ave; Mystic Shipyard, 100 Essex St.; Mystic & Noank Library, 40 Library St.; Noank Community Market, 17 Pearl St., Noank; and Seaport Marine, 2 Washington St.

For more information email: mysticcommunitybikes@gmail.com or phone (860) 245-8150.

Both organizations rely on donations and welcome volunteers.

 

 

Reader Comments

MORE BLOGS

Rocks In My Head, Part 37,482

Descending New Hampshire’s Mount Washington in a blizzard some time ago, a friend and I briefly strayed from the ice-encrusted Lion Head Trail – not all that surprising considering wind-whipped snow reduced our visibility to...

Hey, Unless Your Head Is Made Of Cement, Wear A Bike Helmet!

Last Saturday was glorious, perhaps the last sunny, warm day of the season, so a couple friends and I set out for a 50-plus-mile ride on Rhode Island’s magnificent East Bay Bike Path, one of my favorite places to pedal.

How to freeze your - - - off in four easy steps

I know you’ll find this rather shocking, but all those white things in the new picture of me aren’t really snowflakes – they’re feathers from an old pillow, which we thought would be a clever way to illustrate a...

Hey, Unless Your Head Is Made Of Cement, Wear A Bike Helmet!

Last Saturday was glorious, perhaps the last sunny, warm day of the season, so a couple friends and I set out for a 50-plus-mile ride on Rhode Island’s magnificent East Bay Bike Path, one of my favorite places to pedal.

Forget San Juan Capistrano – If You Want to See Hundreds of Thousands of Swallows, Check Out the Lower Connecticut River

Like the first snowflakes of an approaching blizzard, a small flurry of tiny birds flitted across the slow-moving water of the Connecticut River earlier this week, just as the sun began to dip below the western bank in Old Saybrook.

Celebrating the Spirit of Johnny Kelley, as We Dedicate a Statue in His Memory

Participating in weekly runs with legendary marathon champion Johnny Kelley back in the 1970s was a lot like attending a religious service.

Pink Gloves Save The Day At The Josh Billings RunAground Triathlon

Paddling a tandem kayak in the second leg of the Josh Billings RunAground Triathlon in the Berkshires of Massachusetts is a lot like competing in a combined NASCAR, Formula One and Demolition Derby race, what with every manner of vessel...

A Three-peat Victory, Redemption and Inspiration at Norwalk’s Lighthouse to Lighthouse Race

As Ian Frenkel and I stealthily steered our 22-foot tandem kayak toward Greens Ledge Lighthouse on Long Island Sound off Norwalk Saturday, we closed in on our good friend and arch rival Phil Warner, who was racing in his 24-foot two-man...

The Elegance (and Pain) of a White Mountain Presidential Traverse

Most hikers traipsing among New Hampshire’s White Mountains consider peaks in the Presidential Range – Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Washington, Monroe, Eisenhower – a worthy day hike, and many break up ascents of the more...

Superior Kayaking in Minnesota

Over the years I’ve heard many sounds while kayaking – roaring rapids, crashing waves, rumbling thunder, whistling wind, pelting rain, quacking ducks, barking seals, crying loons, splashing whales, screeching eagles –...

You Can't Mess With Mother Nature (But That Doesn't Stop Me From Trying)

In his book "The Control of Nature" John McPhee chronicles such futile human efforts as spraying fire hoses on a volcanic lava flow that threatened an Icelandic fishing village, building dikes along the flood-prone...

For the Ultra Athlete, Nothing Succeeds Like Excess

At 5:40 Thursday morning the sun had yet to poke above the horizon, but Laura Ely of Stonington and Pam Dolan of Mystic already had begun a 20-mile cycle through the hills of southeastern Connecticut.

A Fox in the Blueberries and Other Garden Surprises

    When my wife returned from the garden the other day, somewhat breathless and empty-handed, she announced, "You’ll never believe what’s trapped in the blueberry enclosure."

At Last, Kayaks Overpower Jet Skis

While launching my kayak on Maine’s Rangeley Lake the other day I took a short detour to avoid a particularly annoying personal watercraft rider who had been buzzing around in circles, seemingly oblivious to loons, humans and other...