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Superior launches bike-sharing program

Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com Superior Mayor Jim Paine rides a Zagster bike on Superior's Millennium Trail on Tuesday, Sept. 11.1 / 3
(Jed Carlson/jcarlson@superiortelegram.com) Superior Mayor Jim Paine looks over the Zagster bike rack near the Millenium Trail.2 / 3
Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce President Taylor Pedersen grabs a Zagster bike near the Millennium Trail in Superior on Tuesday, Sept. 11.3 / 3

Riding a bike in Superior is as easy as 1 (get the app and sign up), 2 (choose your bike), 3 (enjoy the ride).

When you're done, just return the rental and lock it up to make it available for the next rider.

This week, Superior launched its bike sharing program with Zagster Bike.

"This is really a beautiful day to ride a bike," said Taylor Pedersen of the Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce. "It's one more mode of transportation around the community."

Twenty bikes are available to rent from locations on Catlin Avenue at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, Center City Park, Barker's Island and at the Superior Municipal Forest.

"We're trying to use it in a couple of different ways," Mayor Jim Paine said. "This did take a lot of people to get this done."

The city of Superior is sponsoring the bikes, as are Essentia Health, Minnesota Power and Dairyland Energy Cooperative and Enbridge Energy.

Paine said among the goals of the program are to improve health and get away from car-based transportation.

"Bike share is successful in nearly every major North American city and is helping people get around, just for transportation — just for getting from here to there," Paine said.

That was one of the reasons Zagster was chosen. Unlike other bike-sharing programs, the Zagster bikes come with a lock that allows users to secure bikes anywhere, not just at the designated station. So if a university student wanted to take a bike to the grocery store, they could lock up the bike while they shop and use it again for the return trip to campus.

A kiosk at the bike-docking stations explains how the bike-sharing program works.

"From what I understand, people are already starting to hop on these bikes," Paine said. "It's an affordable way to hop on and experience our municipal forest, the Osaugie Trail or any part of the city."

Jennifer Peterson, manager of regulatory affairs for Minnesota Power, said the program reflects the company's commitment to environmental stewardship.

"When we heard about this project, we felt it was right in our wheelhouse," Peterson said.

"We were very excited to jump on board to just support the overall wellness of our community," said Kat Brunbette, rehabilitation manager with Essentia Health. "We encourage people to get out and move about."

Zagster hires a local mechanic if there are any issues with the bikes, such as a flat tire, said Linda Cadotte, director of parks, recreation and forestry for the city. Galleria of Duluth will be notified when a repair need is reported, and will move the bikes from one location to another if the are locked up en masse at one of the locations.

Cadotte said the goal is to have five bikes at each station, but there is no obligation for the riders to return the bikes at the docking station where they were picked up.

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