City officially celebrates launch of Pace bikes

Mayor Marsha McLean, left, and City of Santa Clarita Council members pose for photos during the ribbon cutting of the City of Santa Clarita Pace bike-share program held at SCV City Hall on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Each member standing behind a bicycle and helmet in place, the Santa Clarita City Council officially celebrated the launch of the Pace bikes Thursday during a ribbon cutting at City Hall.

“Celebrating biking in Santa Clarita is absolutely amazing,” Mayor Marsha McLean said in announcing the bike-share program and the route of the upcoming cycling race Amgen Tour of California, for which Santa Clarita will once again be a host city.

Since December, residents have had the chance to ride the bicycles thanks to a pilot program between the city and bike-share company Zagster. In 2017, city staff asked residents whether they would like such a service and results were “overwhelmingly supportive of the concept,” with more than 75 percent in support, said McLean.

“The program is intended to enhance our city’s tourism efforts by allowing visitors to enjoy our beautiful trail system and explore all Santa Clarita has to offer,” she said. “The program will also be a great resource for our residents to be used for both recreational opportunities and transportation.”

So far, a total of 50 bikes and 12 stations are located at multiple areas across the Santa Clarita Valley, including the Iron Horse Trailhead, the Hyatt Regency Valencia, McBean Regional Transit Center and Old Town Newhall Library. City officials said the program may expand with more bikes and stations through sponsorship opportunities over time.

Multiple residents have already had the chance to ride the bikes, complimenting its user-friendly system. To access one, riders can rent one for $1 per 30 minutes through the Pace app. When finished, users simply attach the bicycle back onto a Pace or regular bike rack with locks already attached on each bike.

While this easy-to-use and “lock-to” feature is used to avoid clutter on streets, some residents have reported seeing bikes not left on racks and at least one incident where a bicycle had missing tires. Dan Petukas, Pace bike mechanic for the Santa Clarita area, said these incidents are sparse and that “99 percent of people have been responsible with them.”

Bill Fickett, resident and committee member of the SCV Bicycle Coalition, said Thursday, “Anything that promotes bicycling in the community is a great plan. (The bikes) are very stable, easy to ride and everyone’s going to feel comfortable on them.”

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