Wheels are spinning as a result of the new bike-share program that is fostering both community and healthy living among the Tech population.
The free bicycle rental concept introduced this semester by the “Treehouse,” Tech’s environmental learning village, has been met with much interest and enthusiasm.
“Initially we thought, ‘it’s a nice idea, but is anyone going to do it?'” Andy Smith, Tech instructor of English and faculty head of the Treehouse, said. “The response has far exceeded expectations.”
Caitlin Mccown, assistant coordinator of the Treehouse, estimated that there have been 400-500 people who have rented out bikes over the past three weeks.
A total of 14 men’s and women’s cruiser-style bicycles are available between 7 a.m. and midnight daily to all Tech students, staff and faculty.
“It’s a great program for people who want bikes but don’t have them or if you have to go all the way to the STEM Center or something,” Michelle Best, a junior at Tech, said.
According to Best, the only problem with the program is that the bikes need frequent maintenance; but even this issue is swiftly addressed.
Dedicated bike racks are located at both New Hall North—the headquarters of the Treehouse—and Dunn Hall. Bicycles can be rented from the front desks of either residence hall.
Each biker is required to sign liability forms before receiving an optional helmet and a key to the bicycle lock.
In addition to the health-related and environmental benefits, the bike-share provides functional benefits.
“People are always complaining about parking,” Smith said. “This is a great way to avoid hunting for a parking spot.”
The bike-share program is funded by the Sustainability Campus Fee, which the Tech website defines as, “an $8 per semester fee to increase efforts for clean, renewable energy and conservation projects.”