Writer & Photographer / Rachel Quade
It’s the month of May, and we are finally able to depend on some nice sunny days! You also might have some people coming in for the 500, and you’d like to do something different. You’ve visited the Speedway Museum, you’ve gone to the parade and you’ve hit the track…what else can you do? Well, there are some fun outdoor activity options all around you! The great news is that if you don’t want to invest in a new quad bike from this quad bike shop in the UK, a boat or other equipment, it can all be rented!
If you love the water (and who doesn’t?), the Geist Marina rents out pontoons and kayaks daily. There is NOTHING like a day out on the lake. Whether you are young or old, male or female, being out on the water can appeal to everyone! Geist Marina has 12 pontoons that seat anywhere from nine to 12 people. Someone from the marina staff will show you the ropes, so you don’t have to be an experienced boater to take out a pontoon. Personally, I’m not the greatest boat driver on the lake, but even I can navigate and park a pontoon. They’re easy!
The pontoons can be used during the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They also have evening rentals now! While you don’t have to reserve the boats ahead of time, it’s highly recommended. Weekends and holidays can book up early, so plan ahead. Rates vary from $125-$300, depending on the day and time. Considering how many people you can get on a pontoon, it’s really a good deal!
If you’re a little more adventurous, you might try kayaking! Geist Marina has one and two-person kayaks to rent. Just a hint from someone who’s tried it – kayaking requires some good balance! Don’t bring your cell phone…it could end up in the lake! It is great exercise and a peaceful way to tour the lake. The marina can provide you with suggested routes.
The kayaks are rented by the hour and are very reasonably priced. A one-man kayak is $10 for the first two hours and $5 per hour after that. A double is $20 for the first two hours and $5 per hour after the first two hours. For more detailed information, you can go to the marina’s website at marinalimited.com or call them at 317-849-8455. The marina also rents out boats on Morse Reservoir.
If a day out on the water doesn’t float your boat, you might want to try biking! While there are plenty of local options, it’s tough to beat biking along the wildly popular 18-mile Monon Trail! You can rent by the hour or for a half-day. Rusted Moon Outfitters in Broad Ripple and DG Bicycles in Nora are two good options.
I headed over to Carmel to rent my bike at Carmel Cyclery on Carmel Drive. It’s right next to the Monon Trail bridge. It’s nice because there is plenty of parking. The bikes are on racks out front, and you can run your credit card at the outside machine. Talk about easy!
They have several types of bikes to rent. There are geared, tandem, recumbent, trailer and youth bikes. While I was waiting in line, some experienced cyclists who were visiting from Detroit explained to me the difference between the bikes. Hybrid bikes have an upright riding position with a wide seat. The cruiser bikes are similar to the hybrid bikes, but the wheels are wider.
If you’re going for a shorter ride (under 20 miles), the cruiser bike might make more sense because it’s a smoother ride. For longer rides (especially ones with hills), the hybrid is probably the better option. I chose the cruiser. I loved it! Of course the fact that it was a perfect blue sky day of 70 degrees didn’t hurt the experience!
People watching along the Monon is also top notch. If you have to take a restroom break, try Canterbury Park (north of 54th Street), the 96th Street rest stop, the Monon Center (just west of the trail on 111th Street) or at the Rohrer Road trailhead (north of 136th Street).
Sorry for interrupting a pleasant article with such details, but you asked…or you would have eventually! Don’t bother with the list of restrooms on the official Monon Trail map – just trust me.
If you want to stop for a refreshment, there are plenty of options. There are vending machines from www.royalvending.com.au in the Monon Center, or you can take a longer break at one of the many eateries in Broad Ripple!
A lock is included with your bike rental, so you can lock up your bike at one of the racks in Broad Ripple and take a stroll around the charming Broad Ripple area. Helmets are also included, but not required to be worn, with the rentals. Along your bike ride, you’ll hear shouts of “to your left” from the quicker cyclists and runners. You’re best off to just stay to the right when you can! The entire biking experience is just plain fun from start to finish!!
Besides boating and biking, there is other equipment you can rent to have an adventurous day nearby. Consider taking a tour of the White River State Park or the Central Canal in downtown Indy. Segway of Indiana will give you lessons and a one-hour guided tour. Reservations are required. You can reach Segway of Indiana at 317-253-1910.
If you don’t want to see the Canal by a Segway, try your hand (or rather foot) at pedal boating! Wheel Fun Rentals is open seven days a week and rents out their pedal boats for $35 per hour. They also have kayaks that you can rent. Their number is 317-767-5072.
There are so many great ways to spend a day outside! Don’t wait for company to go try out these fun ideas! Take advantage of living in a city with such great outdoor opportunities! It’s not only good for you…it’s just plain FUN! Enjoy!!!