MICROMOBILITY DEFINED: “Transportation using lightweight vehicles such as bicycles or scooters, especially electric ones that may be borrowed as part of a self-service rental program in which people rent vehicles for short-term use within a town or city.”
Fighting through the government-mandated restrictions during a year-long pandemic has made many businesses stronger, more diversified and ready to take on new challenges.
One such business is The Grove Hotel in Kingsville which is preparing to launch The Grove Bike Company, offering day-long e-bike and pedal bike rentals to guests and area residents wishing to explore the county on two wheels.
“We’ve had inquiries about this kind of service in the past and we decided to launch it this year,” said hotel general manager Jennifer Flynn. “We have a website up and running and we’ve received great feedback even though our target start date isn’t until May 1.”
Flynn and husband James Flynn along with Kim Lewis own and operate both the hotel and the bike company.
Flynn said there will be 20 RadRunners, a popular brand of power-assisted e-bikes, available for rental along with six pedal bikes. Rates will vary depending upon season, style of bike and day of week but will average about $59 for a 10-hour rental. Hourly rates will also be offered depending upon bike availability.
They are single-person bikes but Flynn said that child carriers will also be available along with safety helmets.
“One can expect the interest in micromobility to rise as resident and tourists begin visiting cities again, as they often see micromobility options – such as such as bikes, e-bikes and scooters – as fun ways to experience and tour cities and get around without needing a vehicle,” says WEtech Alliance President & CEO, Yvonne Pilon. “As people start making more trips around the Essex County’s wine country for these various reasons, cities and businesses should prepare to meet demand by raising shared mobility vehicle numbers. It is expected that by 2023, the total number of e-bikes around the world could reach about 300 million, a 50% increase over 2019, according to Deloitte Global.”
There are also plans to offer picnic baskets from Green Heart Kitchen in Kingsville.
“In the beginning, it will be a pickup-and-go system but we will be providing information about the local wine country routes and in the future, we may offer guided tours,” said Flynn. “It’s a great region to explore either as a couple or in a group.”
Bikes will be available for pickup at either the hotel at 12 Main Street East in Kingsville or at Magnolia Ranch Bed and Breakfast at 178 County Road 50 in Harrow.
The Flynns and Lewis are also planning a new motel for Colchester and if that project comes to fruition, bike pickups will likely be available from that location next summer.
While the hotel, which featured 18 themed rooms, was never forced to close during the past 12 months, Flynn says the phones are beginning to ring on a regular basis from people looking for a change of scenery and out-of-town options.
“We’re getting more inquiries from the Toronto area than we’ve had in the past,” said Flynn. “We’re super excited about the upcoming season especially with this new bike option for our guests and area residents.”
Flynn said they tried to come up with creative ideas to keep interest in the hotel alive over the past 12 months including online shopping options and specialty packages for hotel guests.
“We’re very proud of what we’ve been able to do and we’re looking forward to a busy season,” said Flynn.