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How bright orange bikes could help Middletown residents and visitors enjoy downtown in a new way

Spoken Bicycles, 1201 Central Ave., has started renting bicycles for anyone interested in exploring downtown Middletown or riding along the Great Miami River bike path, says owner Otto Bohn. RICK McCRABB/STAFF
Spoken Bicycles, 1201 Central Ave., has started renting bicycles for anyone interested in exploring downtown Middletown or riding along the Great Miami River bike path, says owner Otto Bohn. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

A business owner and the Middletown Visitors Bureau hope a new venture downtown attracts more people to the district.

Spoken Bicycles, 1201 Central Ave., started renting bikes on Friday in hopes of taking advantage of the revitalized downtown and the nearby bike path by the Great Miami River.

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Spoken has 10 bikes for rent — six adult and four youth — and each rental will include a helmet and a lock, said owner Otto Bohn. The bikes will rent for $10 per hour for the first hour and $4 for each hour after that.

Reservations can be placed on the store’s website, www.spokenbicycles.com, or by calling the store at 513-997-1230.

Each bike is painted bright orange to make them recognizable in the community and to make them easy to find if they’re not returned, Bohn said. Each bike will have the store’s logo and the logo of Middletown Visitors Bureau.

The goal of the rental program, Bohn said, is to make Middletown “a destination for cycling.”

He said the program is geared toward residents who may not own a bike or out of town guests who want to tour the Middletown area.

Mary Huttlinger, executive director of the Middletown Visitors Bureau, foresees a time when people rent bikes in Middletown, then ride then along the bike path that eventually will stretch 99 miles from Hamilton to Troy. She called the bike path “a great asset” that is underused.

The visitors bureau invested $2,700 out of its capital budget in the bike rental program. She said the bike shop will have to complete quarterly reports on the progress of the program for the next two years.