MASON CITY | When a bike-share program for Mason City was announced earlier this year, the hope was that it would be up and running by this fall.
But the program has encountered some obstacles in the delivery of the bikes, according to Steve Schurtz, a member of the city's Active Living and Transportation Commission, who has spearheaded efforts to start the program.
He said Koloni Share, the bike vendor located in Pocahontas, orders bikes through a company in Ames. The bikes are manufactured in China. "We had expected our bikes to arrive in mid- to late-July," said Schurtz.
That's when the first problem occurred.
"The Ames company ordered 200 bikes, of which 12 are ours," he said. "Apparently, 200 bikes is a small order for the manufacturer, so the order was delayed. But it was completed, crated and ready to ship in late September."
But another problem surfaced. The Chinese government put a one-week delay in the shipping, reason unknown even to Koloni, said Schurtz.
"The bikes should ship this month and arrive in the U.S. in early November."
The program experienced even more challenges.
Koloni provided Mason City with four loaner bikes for bikers to use until the full shipment came in. They were in the rack at City Hall for about a week. But they were inoperable.
"We experienced problems with the app and with the locking mechanism. The lock problem has been addressed, and the app revision is in progress," said Schurtz. "When that is ready, and if the weather holds, we may have a soft launch later this month.
He's hoping that by next spring, all systems will be go and the community can help celebrate a public launch for the new program.