Pedals fall off bike rental service idea 

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By Bird Bouchard
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Ridgetown Independent

The idea of an independent tourism-focused bike use/rental service within Chatham-Kent has fallen flat.

At a Dec. 6, 2021, meeting, council directed administration to commence a public request for interest process regarding the operation of independent tourism-focused bike use and rental services within Chatham-Kent.

As directed by council, a public Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI) was issued.

The REOI sought to determine if a business or organization was interested in facilitating a bike use or rental pilot project in Chatham-Kent. However, just one response was received to the posted REOI.

Council was updated on the outcome of the REOI at the July 25, 2022, meeting.

“Chatham-Kent Tourism staff connect local businesses that have stated they are interested in discussing the opportunity of hosting an in-person e-bike rental program partnership with Demon Electric/RYDE,” reads the report that went before council.

Chatham-Kent Tourism staff engaged in discussions with Demon Electric/RYDE regarding the installation of up to six RYDE e-bike charging stations throughout the municipality, with a tentative launch date of Spring 2023 and a maximum project cost not exceeding $45,000, funded by the Tourism Reserve and/or grant support.

On August 8, 2022, phone and email communications between the municipal tourism team and Demon Electric/RYDE commenced. There was an agreement that a draft contract would be provided to the municipality by October 7, 2022.

“Despite the best efforts of the municipal tourism team to maintain communication with the company, a draft contract has not been received, and connections to local businesses have not been made. Discussions with the company have therefore ceased,” said Andrea McCulligh, Tourism Development Coordinator.

A tourism-oriented bike rental project may be re-examined in the future if new information or opportunities arise.

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