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LIC hotel offers tourists $10 western Qns. bike rentals

Ravi Patel, owner of Ravel Hotel, shows off the bikes the hotel has available for its customers to rent and use to explore Astoria and Long Island City. Photo by Rebecca Henely
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A Long Island City hotel is teaming up with a nonprofit to give tourists a unique way to not only experience the borough, but also buy at its shops.

The Ravel Hotel, at 808 Queens Plaza South, is offering a plan in which hotel customers can rent a bike for $10 per day, then use the bike to travel on routes through Long Island City to Astoria or Roosevelt Island mapped out by the nonprofit Bike New York.

If they take the Long Island City route, the customers also have the option of getting 10 percent off at four stops along the route.

“A lot of those foreign travelers, they are not afraid of exploring,” said Kanessa Tixe, a Source Communications spokeswoman. “And they already do it on foot. Why not do it on a bike?”

Tixe said Emilia Crotty, the education operations director for Bike New York, is also a member of Community Board 2 and had worked to get bike lanes in the area. Source Communications introduced Crotty to Ravel since the hotel had been planning to create a bike amenity for its guests for some time.

“It’s been well-received by our guests,” said Ravi Patel, Ravel Hotel’s owner. “They find it to be a great alternative to walking.”

While Ravel purchased the bikes, bells and locks, Bike New York created the program and trained the staff in bicycle safety and proper helmet use, Tixe said. Guests who choose to ride will also be given a packet by Bike New York with a bicycle quiz, safety guidelines and New York City bike maps, created by the city Department of Transportation, of the three routes. Customers must sign a waiver before participating.

Tixe said Ravel has six bikes available. If the program is successful, Ravel will buy additional bikes in the spring, but the early response has been good.

“The first day all the bikes were gone,” Tixe said.

There are three possible routes the bikers can take, Tixe said. The Long Island City route is about 3 miles long and takes riders to Vernon Boulevard, Gantry State Park and Jackson Avenue. Bikers can also get a 10 percent discount at local stores, or “perk stops:” The Creek and The Cave, at 10-93 Jackson Ave.; Natural Frontier Market, at 12-01 Jackson Ave.; Breadbox Cafe, at 47-11 11th St.; and Communitea, at 47-02 Vernon Blvd., when they show the stores their amenity cards.

The Astoria route is about 6 miles long and takes the rider up near Astoria Park and Ditmars Boulevard. The Ravel to Roosevelt Island route, called the “R to R Route,” is about a 4.5-mile round trip and takes the rider over the Roosevelt Island bridge, through the island and back.

Tixe said the Astoria and Roosevelt Island routes currently do not have perk stops at this time, but they will be looking to partner with additional businesses if the program is successful.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Posted 2:08 pm, October 6, 2011
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