Members of the Rotary Club and other volunteers helped assemble a dozen new yellow bikes on Saturday at the Cycle Path bicycle shop on 13th Street in Menominee. A total of 47 free-use bikes will be available beginning Memorial Day.EagleHerald/Mike Desotell
Members of the Rotary Club and other volunteers helped assemble a dozen new yellow bikes on Saturday at the Cycle Path bicycle shop on 13th Street in Menominee. A total of 47 free-use bikes will be available beginning Memorial Day.
EagleHerald/Mike Desotell
MENOMINEE - Just over a month from now the city of Menominee will begin its fourth season with the Yellow Bike program. Designed to promote tourism, the bikes are placed at key locations throughout town and are available to ride at no charge.

Thanks to a group of volunteers with the Rotary Club, the program will have 12 new bikes on the road this year, six men's and six women's. Members got together Saturday afternoon at the Cycle Path bicycle shop on 13th Street where they assembled the two-wheelers.

Heading up the crew was Rotary Club member Arthur Baron, who along with his wife Sandy helped get the program rolling. "We started out with 12 used bikes that were rehabilitated and we went to new bikes," said Baron. "Today we have 47 bikes."

The bikes are owned by the city but all the money used to purchase and repair them is raised through private donations.

Through his business connections, Cycle Path owner Bill St. Martin is able to wrangle a deal on the bikes through a company called J.B. Imports.

"I talk to them once a year and coerce them into giving me a better than wholesale price on the bikes," he said.

The simple single-speed design and heavy-duty frame means a lot less can go wrong with the bike. The seats have built-in height adjusters so no tools are necessary to position it at the right level for each rider.

Unlike many bike seats you see today, these offer extra cushion where it's needed most.

"They have comfortable double-spring seats," said St. Martin. "The whole bike is designed for comfort. It goes back to the old fashion balloon tires, coaster brake beach cruiser."

The bikes will hit the streets beginning Memorial Day and can be found at the YMCA, Twin County Airport, Spies Public Library, The Serving Spoon restaurant, Pirates Cove, Michigan Tourism Information Center and Menominee Historical Museum.

The busiest locations for bike use are the airport and marina. "Families that come into the marina use them because most of the boats don't carry their own bicycles," said Baron.

The rules for using the bikes are simple. All you have to do to check one out is show your driver's license and give your telephone number.

"This year we are most likely going to an overnight program," said Baron. "Many of the locations aren't open after 5 p.m. and it's light out much later. People who want to use the bikes quite often aren't able to return them before dark."

Old bikes beyond the point of repair find a second life as decorative flower planters. Baron said the program is currently in need of more bike racks, helmets, locks and chains. Donations can be made to the city of Menominee. The funds are kept in an account strictly for the Yellow Bike program.

Mike Desotell can be contacted at 715-735-7500, ext. 145, or at mdesotell@eagleherald.com.