Madison Bike Share rolls with job opportunities for individuals with disabilities

MADISON, Conn. (WTNH) — There is beauty all around the town of Madison, if you just slow down and look. So maybe the best way to see it is on a bicycle. Starting right now, you can rent one.

“Ten dollars a day, you get a lock, you get a set of rules,” said Eilene Banisch of the Madison Chamber of Commerce. “Sign a waiver, get your helmet and off you go.”

The Madison Bike Share now has 15 bikes, all sponsored by local business. You can pick them up at three different inns around Madison. Victoria Kolyvas runs one of them, the Tidewater Inn.

“Guests love it” said Kolyvas. “They can have one of our bountiful breakfasts and then take a bike and work it off.”

The bike share program is more than just a nice way to see the town. Somebody has got to go to the three Inns and maintain these bicycles. That maintenance is being done by a group called Vista Vocational.

“We were really excited to be able to work with them,” said Malley O’Shea of Vista Vocational. “Learning the basics of maintaining a bike and learning to make sure the bikes are road ready for the program.”

Vista is a program that helps people with disabilities learn useful skills, everything from living by themselves to, in this case, bicycle maintenance.

“Hopefully this program will evolve and we’ll have more paid employment through this opportunity,” O’Shea said. “Or it may mean employment through a bike or cycle shop.”

And it means one less worry for Innkeepers who used to supply their own bicycles.

“I know that when the bikes go out, the tires are properly inflated, everything’s oiled, everything works,” Kolyvas said. “It’s outstanding.”

They only have adult bikes, but anyone, tourist or local, can sign out a bike for $10 a day, then go see the beauty of Madison, at their own pace. The Madison Bike Share Initiative began last month and continues through October.

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