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Want to ride a bike around town but don’t have one? There’s an app for that.

A group of area residents recently came together and launched a bike-share program enabling people to rent a bicycle for a minimal charge to take a spin through town. Using the Movatic smartphone app, which allows users to find, reserve and rent them, bikes are already available outside of Columbus Community Hospital, the Columbus Wellness Center and the River’s Edge Convention Center.

The initiative was launched by residents collectively known as the CIA, Columbus In Action, a recently formed nonprofit organization that aims to provide new community activities in town. The CIA came about as Scott Mueller, Chris Nelson, Rich Jablonski and Jordan Mueller, who are all part of Columbus’ Ramada/River’s Edge ownership group, began talking about things they could do beyond the hotel and conference center’s walls.

“It’s an extension of that,” Mueller said, noting the conference center and hotel were meant to enhance the city.

But it’s not an exclusive group. Great Plains State Bank Vice President Bryan Chochon and CCH’s Amy Blaser are also part of the CIA, which is open to the public and just requires annual dues.

The 12 bikes, which were purchased through donations made by CCH and owners of the local Ramada, are pretty sweet. They all feature a unisex step-through frame, seven gears to make it easy for riders of all skill levels, adjustable seat height and a rear basket for books, bags and groceries (just not people).

There are four bikes available at each site, and they can be rented for an initial $2. It then costs $1.50 for every half hour used.

“It’s kind of a neat little idea we had,” Nelson said. “It’s a concept we hope that helps promote wellness and well-being in the community. They can get some fresh air and burn off a few calories. Maybe it will give them a chance to observe things and give them a different perspective on our parks, Wagners Lake or different trails in and around town – - a perspective they wouldn’t get in a vehicle.”

The bikes are already being put to good use. Mueller said since the CIA launched the program about a week ago, several have been rented out at various times. To download the app, visit Apple’s App Store or Google Play on your phone.

“I hope they get a chance to enjoy the community and the great trails we have here,” Mueller said. “It’s another way they can exercise and take in our beautiful community.”

Although the bike-share program has rolled out, CIA members aren’t done. Mueller said no specific plans have been finalized, but ideas are in the works. Nelson shared a similar perspective.

“Hopefully it’s the first of many projects that will benefit the community,” Nelson said.

Those interested in joining the group are asked to call 402-606-4096.

CCH is at 4600 38th St.; The Wellness Center is at 3912 38 St. and the River’s Edge Convention Center is at 265 33rd Ave.

Matt Lindberg is the managing editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at matt.lindberg@lee.net.

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