Those who happen to be in Hawley and would like a set of wheels to see the town, can now borrow a bicycle—free of charge—and visit a variety of shops, restaurants and more, thanks to the new Hawley BikeShare program.
Announced recently by the Downtown Hawley Partnership (DHP), Hawley BikeShare is designed to encourage residents and visitors alike to explore all the community has to offer, as well as nearby natural attractions such as the scenic Lackawaxen River, named Pennsylvania’s River of the Year in 2010.
Through Hawley BikeShare, people can access bicycles purchased through the generosity of the members of the DHP. The bikes are available in two sizes, in both men’s and women’s styles.
Bikes will be available at four convenient locations throughout Hawley, including AM Skier Insurance, The Settlers Inn, the Ledges Hotel and Lake Region Fitness at the Hawley Silk Mill. The bikes come complete with a helmet, lock and removable basket for carrying purchases from local shops.
The people-powered project provides a connection to the community, promotes sustainability and allows for a health-promoting way to explore the natural beauty of the area.
To borrow a bike, an interested individual simply provides a copy of his or her driver’s license or other photo ID and signs a waiver and rental agreement holding the DHP harmless in the event of injury and accepting responsibility for the cost of any damages. Bicycles must be returned by dusk the same day. Rentals are initially limited to those over 18 years of age, but the program may be expanded in the future to those over 16 years of age.
Hawley BikeShare is modeled after programs around the world, and locally after a successful program in Wilkes-Barre.
Ongoing maintenance of the bikes is provided by Around Town Bicycles and by the generous support of the 12 sponsors highlighted on the bikes’ baskets.
According to long-time cycling advocate Jeanne Genzlinger of The Settlers Inn, who promotes bicycling through a series of customized tours she developed for patrons of the inn, the program came about as a suggestion from Tom Jones at Around Town Bicycles, who felt Hawley would provide a perfect fit for the program.
“I jumped on the idea, as I am familiar with other communities that have bike share programs,” said Genzlinger. “I think it is a wonderful progressive idea for our area and a nice way for people to view the downtown—faster than a walk and slower than a car—coupled with great exercise.”
As a DHP board member, Genzlinger also thought it would be a great fit for the organization. “When we presented the idea to the board, they quickly had a positive response,” she said. “With one of our bikes on display at the Wallenpaupack Visitor’s Center, tourists coming to our area will have a new way to explore the downtown to enjoy both the local flavor, scenery and shopping.”
The DHP reminds motorists throughout the region to share the road. Earlier in 2012, a new Pennsylvania law went into effect stating that motorists must give cyclists four feet of space when passing. If motorists cannot do so safely, they must wait to pass.
To promote bike safety, the DHP will host a bicycle rodeo on August 17 at 5 p.m. in Bingham Park in Hawley. The event offers kids of all ages a chance to try out their cycling skills and learn how to ride safely. Experts will also be on hand with helpful instructions on bicycle maintenance, tune-ups and tips.
The DHP is comprised of Hawley area businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals working together to bring cohesiveness, aesthetics and structure to the growth and development of downtown Hawley. The DHP is also involved in business and tourism, hosting several events and activities throughout the year including October’s Hawley Harvest Hoedown and the Hawley Winterfest in December. Visit www.VisitHawleyPA.com  for more information.