116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
New electric tricycles now available to rent in Marion started with a resident’s idea submission to the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee.
Representatives from the City of Marion, its Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA and Iowa BIG came together to celebrate the program’s launch at the new Marion YMCA on Monday afternoon.
The idea came from Thomas Spratt, who said he and his friends were hesitant to go on bike rides together because they feared falling.
The tricycles are available only to people 55 and older and can be rented for two hours at a time from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is no rental fee for Marion residents, and the fee is $10 for anyone who lives outside of Marion.
Two tricycles are available for rent now, and two more will be available in the coming months.
Reservations can be made in advance by calling the YMCA at (319) 377-7361. Riders must provide their own helmets, show their IDs and will be required to sign a waiver.
Using Spratt’s idea, Brooke Prouty, director of Uptown Marion, applied for an AARP Community Challenge Grant of $5,500 to go toward accessible trikes, which are safer for senior residents to operate.
“It sounded fun,” Prouty said of why she took on the project. “It just seemed too perfect that we would have this idea and the grant opened at the same time. AARP is now looking at this for a pilot program to do in other cities.”
After receiving the grant in July 2020, the city took the idea to the YMCA, which had been looking to develop more exercise options and programs for seniors.
A group of Iowa BIG students worked for the last several months to help develop the policies, procedures and marketing materials for the program.
Brock Hanna, one of the students involved in the project and a junior at Linn-Mar High School, said Prouty came to the group of students asking if they would like to be involved.
“We immediately hopped on it,” Hanna said.
The six students went to a Marion City Council meeting earlier this year, asking the council to match the grant. The council agreed.
“We’ve worked on the waivers and ordered the trikes, communicating back and forth with the Y and the chamber,” Hanna said. “We did marketing videos. We got to be the people behind the scenes putting this together, and we’ve loved doing it.”
Hanna said the goal was to find a safe option for the trikes while ensuring their battery life.
“We have the trikes set to lower settings because when we had a city council member try it, they got up to over 30 mph,” Hanna said. “But we have made sure they are super safe and easy to use.”
Cedar Rapids Metro YMCA President and CEO Bob Carlson said the program saw its first tricycle renter Monday before the grand opening even happened.
“I think this is a really great opportunity for our senior population,” Carlson said. “We have so many seniors who come to this facility so I think they will definitely take advantage of this.”
Comments: (319) 398-8255; firstname.lastname@example.org