How to Share a Bike

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Student Council’s revitalized Bike Share program begins this week. Briefly instated last spring, the project failed to develop due to maintenance issues. The college partnered with Swarthmore Cycles, a company previously located in the Ville. Swarthmore Cycles was responsible for routinely checking the bikes; the company went bankrupt over the summer, however, and the bikes broke down due to lack of proper care. (Student Council also never received several bikes that they had bought from the company.)

This year the maintenance of the bikes will be the responsibility of Jeff Cao ’10, the Community Outreach Liason for Chester Neighborhood Bike Works. Bike Works is a non-profit organization that runs an after school program, cycling team, and bike share in Chester. Cao said, “I am enthusiastic about the Swarthmore bike share, and I hope by working with it I can raise the profile of the project in Chester on campus.”

Students interested in checking out one of the communal bikes can go to the reserve desk at McCabe Library and receive the keys for the lock of a shared bike, after signing a contract. Also at the reserve desk students, can find information on bike inventory and repair, and even check out a helmet and a basket to accessorize their bike.

The bikes will be kept in a rack behind Parrish. Deivid Rojas ’11, Student Council Vice President, says there was some concern over of the placement of the bike rack. It was suggested it would be convenient for students to have the check out and bikes closer together, with a bike rack at Mcabe, but it was decided that behind Parrish would offer more protection from the elements.

Student Council is enthusiastic about the program, Rojas said. “I think that it will bring many benefits. I hope that it can help folks that live off campus, folks that want to be conscious of the environment, and people that want to escape Swarthmore, even if just for a little bit. Folks who do not have bicycles can have access to one.”

The success of the program will be evaluated when Cao’s bike maintenance contract ends at the start of winter break. During the evaluation, Student Council will assess the effectiveness of the program and the partnership with Chester Bike Works, possibly leading to adjustments to the program. After borrowing a bike, students are encouraged to fill out a feedback form to help Student Council shape the program for the future.

This article originally spelled Rojas’s name incorrectly.

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