Rock Valley ride-share bikes

Rock Valley Kiwanis recently deployed 14 ride-share bikes in Rock Valley that it purchased from Pocahontas-based tech startup Koloni. Riders can rent the bikes at a prorated fee using the Koloni smartphone app.

ROCK VALLEY—Liz Arkema has a new way of getting around town.

The manager of the Rivers Bend Campground has been using new ride-sharing bikes that the Rock Valley Kiwanis purchased for the city.

“I love it because I personally don’t have a bike,” Arkema said. “It’s nice to have, that I can go take my girls out on bike rides and I don’t have to spend $600 to purchase a bike for myself.”

The bikes were put in place in late July at two locations in Rock Valley:

  • by the north bathhouse at Rivers Bend Campground.
  • by the start of the Kiwanis Trailhead at the intersection of 10th Avenue and 14th Street.

The ride-share bikes are the product of the tech startup, Koloni, which first launched the bikes in Pocahontas.

Dave Miller, director of the Rock Valley Economic Development Corporation and a member of the Rock Valley Kiwanis, led the effort to bring the bikes to Rock Valley.

Miller had reached out to Brian Dewey, the co-founder of the company, last summer about the bikes.

“We kind of were one of the first communities that, you know, stuck our hand up and said, ‘We want to try it,’” Miller said.

He said the Rock Valley Kiwanis secured the money to purchase 16 bikes through a grant from the Sioux County Community Foundation. However, Miller said only 14 of the bikes have been deployed for use so far, and of those, two are kept in the city offices.

Users can rent the bikes using the Koloni app, which is available for Apple and Android smartphones. They log into the app and scan the Q-R codes on the backs of the bikes to unlock them.

Miller said the first hour costs $1, and then any time spent on the bike afterward is prorated at $1 an hour. Riders also may choose to spend $10 for a three-day rental period or $30 for a 90-day rental period. Riders pay the rental fees through the app using credit card information.

After the bikes were purchased, Miller said they were in storage in Rock Valley for about six months as the app developer fixed bugs with the program and new locking mechanisms were installed on the bikes. Flooding in the spring further pushed back the rollout date for the bikes.

Now that the bikes are ready for use, Arkema said it is a matter of time before people start to use them regularly.

“We just launched them last week, so they haven’t really taken off yet,” she said.

Arkema has not only been using them for joy rides, but to go to work and run errands around town.

While it may be a while for Rock Valley residents to use them for everyday transportation, Arkema said they likely are to be popular with campers at Rivers Bend.

“At the campground, a lot of people from out of town have been commenting how they’re excited to try them when they come and camp, that they don’t have to load up their bikes, they can just use those,” she said.