From Sep. 30~Oct. 4, Fukuoka hosted a conference for the SIU (Societe Internationale d’Urologie), bringing an influx of doctors and scholars from overseas to town. For two days during this period, bicycle rental company “Fukuchari” completed their first trial of a free bike rental system targeted towards the foreign guests and regular tourists.
The system, called “Hop Step Bike!” focuses on multilingual bicycle rental, aimed at inbound tourism promotion and solution of social problems such as illegally parked bicycles. The special free rental promotion aims to show tourists and residents how rewarding cycling can be as a method of transport. Fukuchari provides 12 bicycles and 10 English/Korean interpreters for “Hop Step Bike!”. These guides prepare the bicycles, hand out “Fukuoka Cycling Map” (the newest edition in the the Now Map series) and explain recommended routes to customers.
For both days of SIU, the weather in Fukuoka was was clear, and many SIU guests who caught wind of the service gathered in Reizen Park to rent the bikes. In total, over 30 people used the service’s 12 bikes over two days.
Fukuoka Now staff dropped by on Wed. morning (10/3) to check out Hop Step Bike! and found that all bikes except one had been rented in the morning! We also met a couple of SIU conference members as they rented their bikes and received advice on where to ride.
Fukuoka City timed the project to coincide with the busy international season in the city. In addition to the SIU conference, Fukuoka will host many more international conventions and events in the upcoming months. The “Hop Step Bike!” trial will continue during the next event, the “International Universal Design Convention in Fukuoka” which is to be held from 10/12~14. The free bike service will run on 10/12 (Fri.), 10/13 (Sat.)
To rent a bike for free, just show up on the specified dates between 10:00~17:00. Your ¥2,000 deposit will be completely refunded when you return the bike– no catch! Explore Fukuoka from a different perspective, by bike. For guided tours, recommended cycling routes, and tourist information for cycling in Fukuoka & Hakata, see Fukuchari website: http://fukuchari.com
Hop Step Bike!
• 10/12 (Fri.), 10/13 (Sat.)
• Reisen Park (Kamikawabata-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City)
• Free (¥2,000 deposit – refunded upon return)
• Valid I.D. required: passport, driver’s license, student I.D. card
*Note: between 9:00~10:00 and 17:00~19:00, or in case of rain, operations will take place will take place at the Fukuchari office on the 1st floor of Reizensou (1 min. walk from Reisen Park)
Check out the Fukuoka Cycling Map here!