There always seem to be new businesses popping up in downtown Mount Dora, but rarely is one so long overdue.
A new bike share and rental company, Mount Dora Bikes, plans for its fleet of new bicycles to hit the road by mid-August or early September. The business will launch with twelve custom aluminium bikes, six of them available for hourly rentals, while the others will be for daily rentals.
The hourly bike rentals will be accessible from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week at a self-service rack that serves as a docking station. The rack will be located at 334 N. Donnelly Street in downtown Mount Dora near Every Nook & Cranny artists collective. Customers will download the Bloom Bike Share mobile app and follow the simple process to pay for and unlock the bikes. The hourly rate is $15 per hour and the process will be similar to what riders experience at bike-shares in larger cities. Geo-fence technology will keep track of each bike.
The company and its cheerful branding are the brainchild of Maria Slaby, a local publisher and 22-year Mount Dora resident, with a lifelong passion for bikes. The company’s slogan is “You can’t buy happiness, but you can rent a bike.”
A few years ago Slaby jumped on her first bike-share experience in New York City with her daughter, Annika. It was love at first ride. The current trend in bike-shares is for private businesses to launch them, rather than the municipal programs seen previously. Slaby’s process began late last year with the logistics and technology requiring the most patience.
Daily rental bikes are also available with one-, two-, and three-day packages available that include picnic baskets, sightseeing maps and local discount coupons for dining and merchandise. Helmets and safety vests are available to borrow at no charge. Daily rates start at $50 per day and decrease for multiple days.
Reservations for daily rentals can be made online with free pick-up and delivery from 10 a.m. until noon within Mount Dora’s core. Outside Mount Dora, pick-up can be arranged as needed.
“For our family, biking in Mount Dora has been a huge part of our lives. As a home-schooling family with four kids, we often took our bikes and backpacks on excursions throughout the city, settling at one park or another for a break to do some homework,” said Slaby. “It’s a joy to be able to share this passion for biking with others in a town we adore.”
In the past, Slaby had been renting bikes to service local hotels and bed-and-breakfasts. She’s thrilled to be expanding the fleet and offerings directly to customers with Mount Dora Bikes.
Excursions, tours and events are planned for the future. “First we want to get our foundation solid in the Mount Dora area. Our priority is to get our systems running smoothly and efficiently,” said Slaby. “Hopefully that will go quickly, paving the way for us to not only expand our fleet, but our offerings as well.”
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