Yep. It’s true. You can now rent bikes at the Beaman fitness center for free every day of the week except Sunday, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Just walk up to the front desk, sign your name on a waiver, and you’re good to roam the streets from Wedgewood Avenue to downtown.
Two catches: One, you have to return the bike to the rental bike rack (at the pedestrian entrance of the parking garage next to the Atrium) and your helmet and keys to the Beaman by 10 p.m.; two, you’re required to wear a helmet, which comes with your bike (and handy bike lock).
So what’s it like riding a bike around the Belmont area?
Almost every Belmont building has a bike rack within 20 feet, including the Sports Fitness Center, Belmont Heights Baptist Church, and Bongo Java on Belmont Boulevard. The most hospitable place to bike in the immediate area is definitely Belmont Boulevard, with bike lanes on both sides of the street.
Many places around town provide bike racks, including Harris Teeter, Vanderbilt University. A lot of bike locks are used to secure a bike to railings, electric poles, and stop signs, but some of those just might earn a ticket – and a fine as well.
As far as the quality of the bikes, they aren’t up to Tour de France standards, but this is not a competition. The seats definitely cause some soreness/discomfort, and the brakes may take an extra couple of feet to about actually stop the bike. However, they are all fundamentally sound, and the 10 bikes available for sharing have adequate gears, wheels and frames, and optional baskets if you’re going grocery shopping. They are in a wide variety of sizes, so don’t worry if you’re very short or tall. They’ve got you covered.
For more information visit belmont.edu/bikes.
Halcyon Bike Shop
All the bikes for Belmont sharing were donated by Halcyon Bike Shop, an alum-owned business at 1118 Halcyon Ave., just off 12 South.
Bike owners can head over to Halcyon for $10 minor repairs, major repairs and supplies.
They also offer a wide selection of new bikes for bike renters and walkers looking for an easier way to travel.