Sharing is Caring

If people are given a bike, will they use a few hours on two wheels to experience a great neighborhood and support local businesses?

That's the hope behind Everyone Bikes, a new bike-share program founded last week by a handful of Short North retailers. They're offering free rental to those interested in dining, shopping and exploring without a car.

"The public support for this has been amazing," said Josh Quinn, co-owner of Tigertree boutique and a driving force behind the program. "We have the first 10 bikes from a pilot program, and we are expanding immediately."

Anyone interested and 18 or older can grab a bike at a participating shop listed online. You show a valid ID and credit card, sign a waiver and get a two-hour block to cruise your surroundings. It's totally free unless you damage the bike or return it super-late.

Kona's Africa Bike, the model in use, is a comfortable single-speed cruiser with relaxed posture, a handlebar basket and front brake.

Businesses bought the rides at a wholesale discount brokered by area bike shop Paradise Garage. In return, they get free advertising on the basket and new customers who might otherwise shop at one store and leave the district.

"About a month ago, we did a bike share at work, where you could grab a bike, grab lunch, get some fresh air," said Dave Hunegnaw, a partner at Sandbox, a local co-working operation. "It was so well received that we thought about how we could grow it outside of Sandbox."

He and Quinn hope to expand the program to other Columbus neighborhoods, as well as suburbs with bike-friendly entertainment districts. Since Saturday, they've fielded calls from Dublin, Worthington, the King-Lincoln District and Indiana University.

Web: everyonebikes.org

Kayaking Kicks

Ohio has plenty of great waters for novice kayaking. If you've got a boat and want to discover advanced techniques, head to Alum Creek Reservoir at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 18 and 25 for free practice sessions with Columbus Outdoor Pursuits.

These aren't clinics, but the local adventure group will be on hand rehearsing strokes, rolls and rescues. Meet at the north end of the state park beach, on the reservoir's west side. Paddlers of all skills levels are welcome.

Web: outdoor-pursuits.org

Animal Open House

Got an issue with local bag limits? Curious about Ohio hunting regulations?

The state's Division of Wildlife invites public comments and questions during a series of open houses held at six regional locations from 12-3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29. In Central Ohio, naturalist officers will be on hand at the District One Office, 1500 Dublin Rd.

Web: ohiodnr.com

Weekend Warrior

Convincing people to walk around can be tough. Getting them to walk in a creek is another battle altogether. Take my advice, though: Creek walking is one of the most enjoyable ways to experience nature.

Naturalists will lead an exploratory creek trip at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, at Three Creeks Metro Park in Groveport. Interested parties will use nets, buckets and scoops to uncover critters. Wear close-toed shoes and be prepared to wade.

Web: metroparks.net

Outdoor Tip of the Month

I'm not one for outdoor gadgets, and I try to keep my pack as light as possible on the trail. However, two things I'll take every time are a carabiner and 50 feet of parachute cord (available for 10 cents a foot at Clintonville Outfitters, 2869 N. High St.). With these, you can hang a bear bag, construct a clothesline, secure things to a canoe or fasten a backwoods brace. The possibilities are endless.

For more outdoor adventures and Nature Notes, click to the Venture blog