Five heavy duty, single speed Cuse Cycle bikes have been stationed at the Erie Canal Trail on Butternut Drive in DeWitt to bring bike sharing to the area. (Hayleigh Gowans)
By Hayleigh Gowans
In an ongoing effort to make DeWitt a more bicycle-friendly town, five Cuse Cycle bicycles have been installed at the Old Erie Canal Trail along Butternut Drive as a means for people to rent bikes to ride on the trail through a system known as bike sharing.
Bike sharing is a process that has become popular in recent years, and includes the rental of bikes through a kiosk or phone application. Sam Gordon, director of planning for DeWitt, said he was interested to bring this type of program to DeWitt to make it easier for residents to enjoy the many bicycle trails despite not having access to a bike.
Gordon has worked with Syracuse-based company Cuse Cycles to obtain a temporary permit for the company from the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to provide bike share for the park, and in late August five heavy duty, single speed bikes were set up near the parking area of the Erie Canal Park on Butternut Drive.
McKie’s father’s business McKie Sports has operated a garage that rents out various recreational gear, including bikes, at Onondaga Lake Parkway in Liverpool for the last few decades. After hearing feedback from their customers, McKie said some people wished they could return the bikes at different locations throughout the trail which is where he got the idea to add a bike share system to the park.
To use Cuse Cycle, you must download an app on your phone and connect a debit card to the account for payment. From there, when you are at the bike station you can use the app to take out a bike, and the bike will be released from the station for use. McKie said since there is only one station at the Erie Canal Trail in DeWitt, once you are finished you must bring the bike back to the station you got it from, but in the future hopes to add more along the trail.
The bike stations are solar powered and the bikes require minimal maintenance, and Mckie said the bikes are simple to use because they are single speed. A soft opening for Cuse Cycle was held at the end of last summer in Liverpool, and so far McKie said the feedback has been positive.
“I think it’s a good alternative for people who want to bike on trails, but might not have a bike or a bike rack to bring their own,” said McKie.
Gordon said a partnership like this is beneficial for residents because it can provide access to bicycles and encourage more people to use the trails within the town. For the future, both Gordon and McKie said they would like to see bike sharing spread to other trails in Onondaga County.
“Bike share is really popular around the country,” said Gordon. “We’re working on the connection of DeWitt to Syracuse and working with the state as part of the Empire State Trail so ultimately we want there to be a way to get from here to downtown Syracuse and beyond.”
Rates to use the bikes are $5 per half hour and $25 per day, and weekly and monthly options are available. The bikes in DeWitt will be available for rental until the end of October. For more information about Cuse Cycle, go to cusecycle.sharedbikes.com.
I am a reporter for the Eagle Bulletin and Cazenovia Republican at Eagle News. I report on topics ranging from town and village government, business, news and features. I am a 2014 graduate of the Roy H. Park School of Communications and have a degree in Journalism and a minor in Psychology.