Barry Jeffries loves riding his bicycle, and he's taking part in a program that would make it easy for people to experience riding bikes.
Jeffries, the owner of Dirty Harry's bike shop in Verona, has teamed up with the Verona Chamber of Commerce and Allegheny County to run a bike share program.
The chamber received a $4,000 grant from the county health department to run the program, in which potential riders can "rent" bicycles from Dirty Harry's for three days. There is no cost to participate in the program or borrow a bike, and it is open to all Allegheny County residents.
Jeffries and his team are housing 10 mountain bikes and a child's bike, complete with a kick stand, water bottle cages, helmets and a lock. People then can stop by the store, which is located on Allegheny River Boulevard, and check out a bike.
"I'm definitely excited about this program," Jeffries said. "It's a great opportunity for people who might not otherwise have the chance to ride a bike. It's a great way to spend time with family and friends.
"There's also the consistent message out there from people who don't know if they want to buy a bike. They can try it out with this to see if they like it."
The shop would need photo ID and credit card information from borrowers in case there is significant damage to a bike when it's returned.
Jeffries said his team would take care of minor problems such as flat tires, tubes and grips.
"We'll deal with that," he said. "We're just trying to eliminate abuse of the bikes. We are really invested in this."
Kier Ewing of the Verona Chamber commended Jeffries and all the businesses involved in putting the program together. Cindy Vento of Jessieco Inc. designed the program's logo.
"I think the fact that people can take out bikes for free is really unique," Ewing said. "It's neat because they can have the bikes for three days and go camping or hiking. It's cool, and I am excited."
For now, anyone interested can call the shop at 412-828-2667 or visit 730 Allegheny River Boulevard in Verona to reserve a bike. However, if the response is overwhelming, the system might change to a first-come, first-serve basis. Jeffries said he hopes the program grows and evolves.
"Time will tell," he said.