The Riverton Chamber of Commerce plans to install five back racks in town to accommodate local bicyclists.
It’s the “first step” in a larger effort to “promote biking within Riverton,” Chamber vice president Bethany Baldes told the Riverton City Council during a regular meeting Tuesday.
The council approved a memorandum of understanding with the Chamber for the bike rack project during this week’s meeting.
The agreement does not require the city to pay for the bike racks or maintain them – it simply gives the Chamber permission to place them in town, city administrator Tony Tolstedt said.
The Chamber will provide a map of the bike rack locations, he added, and city staff will ensure they “aren’t obstructing anything.”
The Chamber has already identified five proposed locations for the bike racks, Baldes said.
One could be located the Rails-to-Trails bike path just south of Main Street, allowing people to park their bikes and walk downtown, she said, while another could go in Riverton City Park, giving local youth “a place to secure their bikes without damaging anything else down there – an actual place for (bikes).”
The third proposed location is along the Rails-to-Trails bike path, she said, at a small municipal park just north of Sunset Drive.
“We were really trying to think of places where people could stop, put their bike, and go shop or do other things in the area,” Baldes said.
The old Tonkin Stadium is another suggestion, she said, and then there are the Fremont County Fairgrounds, where there is currently “nowhere to put your bike.”
Baldes said people who bike to the fairgrounds usually chain their bicycles to nearby fences, but “that’s not good for the fence – it’s going to damage property.”
“(This) is really just an effort to beautify our city,” she said.
‘A biking community’
One resident spoke against the bike rack idea during public comment Tuesday, wondering whether the project was necessary in Riverton, where, in her estimation, there are only “a handful of bicyclers.”
Others disagreed with her assessment, however, including Mayor Richard Gard.
“I really am amazed at how many people do ride their bike,” he said. “This is an effort to get those people to feel like they’re welcome and we have a spot for them.”
He pointed out that there are multiple bike paths in Riverton, and “all of them need a little bit of work and love and attention.”
“We need to get to that point where we take some pride in those facilities and get them in better shape,” he said. “So we do appreciate the effort to move forward and help people that do want to ride their bikes to have a place to do it.”
Councilmember Karla Borders also voiced support for the bike rack project.
“I back the idea 100 percent,” she said. “I have a bicycle, but I’ve never even thought about riding it downtown, because there’s really nowhere to park it and to lock it up. …
“I think it’s very forward thinking that we want to promote our community (and) let them ride their bikes.”
In the future, Baldes said the Chamber would like to provide bicycle repair kiosks in town as well.
“There’s little things that you can do around the community to help bikers,” she said. “It’s all the little things that come together that make it a biking community and get people out there.”
Wind River Visitors Council executive director Helen Wilson said the bike rack project supports the Wy Responsibly campaign, which comes with “a lot of marketing … for tourists coming to the area to say that we’re an environmentally friendly community, and if you’re going to ride bikes, this is the place to go.”
The WRVC contributed $5,000 to the project, which “will bring in more crowds (and) help us market through the Wy Responsibly campaign,” Wilson said.
Baldes said the decorative bike racks the Chamber has identified can accommodate up to five bicycles.
The City of Riverton logo will be displayed on one end of each rack, she said, with the other end reserved for the WRVC.
For more information call 856-4801 or visit the Chamber website.