Bike. Walk. Run.

Countryside SHIP rolled out its first Bike Share program in 2016.  It now has more than 15 bikes in the towns of Benson, Milan, Graceville, and Granite Falls.  

Amanda Ness, an employee of Swift County who lives in Clontarf but works in Benson, is one grateful mother.  She says the bike fleet provides much needed exercise opportunities for her two children, Jake and Gracie, while she is working and they fill the time between end-of-school and their mom to get off work.

“Many times my kids have had to come to my office after school or during the summer between activities or appointments.  Sometimes they go to the library but if it’s nice outside they don’t always want to be indoors,” said Amanda.  “They like having the option (of using the bikes) and have used them to ride around with friends who live in town. They’ve asked me if there is a plan to add them at the Northside Recreation Area, the Benson Pool, and Ambush Trails too so that they could ride them from baseball/softball/football to swimming lessons in the summer and on the trails in between activities. They are already making plans to donate some of their old bikes and have been asking friends if they have any to donate as well,” she added.

The bike share program is an important part of the community, and SHIP was the driving force behind the effort. SHIP has expanded its partnerships and community outreach through the Bike Share Programs. We are so grateful for the community support throughout these programs. Benson Bikes has partnerships from: Countryside Public Health, Benson School Community Ed., Swift County, and previously Pilgrim’s Congregational. 

 

Benson Bikes has received three donated bikes so far from Gaylon in Kerkhoven, who also volunteers his time and bike parts to maintain the bikes. Benson Bikes are located at Countryside Public Health and will be moved to the Swift County Courthouse next Spring.

 


Milan Bikes is partnered with the City of Milan and will be located at the Library. 


Graceville Bikes is partnered with City of Graceville and will be located at the Community Building that includes the library and city hall. 


Granite Falls Bikes are partnered with the City of Granite Falls, Granite Falls Park Board, and YME Community Ed. Each Bike Share Program is based on an honor system for kids and adults to freely use the bikes with the condition of bringing them back each day. 


SHIP funds bike racks, bikes (kids and adults) all painted turquoise, fix-it stations, and signage. Benson has signage in both English and Spanish; Granite Falls has signage in English, Spanish, and Dakota; and Milan has signage in English and Chuke for the Micronesian Community.  The Bike Share Program is making its way through each of our counties and will be expanding into Lac qui Parle County next year. This a great way to educate our communities on a healthy and active lifestyle through environmental change.

 

If you are interested in partnering with us to make your community more walkable and/or bikable, we would love to hear from you. Contact Countryside SHIP.

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