Jim Lancaster  returned to Warsaw three years ago after his job with Zimmer Biomet took him to the Netherlands for five years, and he’s doing his best to bring back a bit of the European country’s intensity for bicycling.

On Tuesday, Warsaw and Winona Lake moved a little closer in that direction as it launched the start of a community bike program that features 20 new bikes stationed at four specially designed bike racks.

Lancaster joined other bicycling enthusiasts and community leaders Tuesday  for  a formal ribbon cutting at the bike rack across the street from Warsaw Community Public Library.

Another ribbon cutting is set for this morning at the rack in Boggs Industrial Park on Warsaw’s west side.

Other racks can be found  in Winona Lake along Park Avenue near SYM Financial and another at the Gordon Rec Center.

The program was sought by the Ride+Walk Warsaw+Winona Lake Committee and organized by Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce. Zimmer Biomet provided seed money for the bikes and the system relies on an app through Zagster.com.

Officials chose to unveil the program this week as a lead up to the Fat and Skinny Tire Fest this weekend.

Lancaster, the vice president and general manager of global hip business for Zimmer Biomet, helped establish a cycling club in Warsaw years ago, and later, got involved in the Fat and Skinny Tire Fest.

He said his five years in the Netherlands opened his eyes to just how popular bicycling can be.

“In the Netherlands, bikes absolutely have the right of way,” Lancaster said. “There are thousands of bikes around places like the public libraries, train stations and shopping areas.’

“To come back and see this happening is fantastic,” he said.

In exchange for Zimmer Biomet’s financial support, the new white bikes prominently display the company’s name.

Participation in the bike program requires users to sign up on Zagster.com’s app.

Once they are registered, users tap  the app and then receive a code for a specific bike and then are able to unlock the bike and use it.





The bikes can be intermittently locked up while in use and need to be returned to any of the four bike racks when users are done.

The bikes come with a self-locking mechanism when bikers either drop off the bike at a rack or take an intermittent break. Users are expected to drop off the bike at one of the four racks.

Users can either sign up for annual membership for $25 for adults and $15 for students or they can pay each time they use the bike at a rate of $1 per 30 minutes.

Other ribbon cuttings will be 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Gordon Rec Center, and 5:30 p.m. Friday at Village at Winona. Friday's ceremony will kick off a to downtown Warsaw.