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Recycled cycles roll away on Earth Day
Erik Dodge
Antelope Staff
Photo by Erik Dodge
Recycled cycles organizers Cade Craig (left) and Nate Summerfield (right) meet to discuss using reclaimed bicycles in the new bike share program. The bicycles behind them have been reclaimed by the university after students abandonded them.

Recycled Cycles, a new campus bike share program, is set to kick off on Earth Day, April 22. Students will be able to ride the 12 to 20 bicycles provided by the program anywhere on campus— free.

The program is designed to give students easier and quicker access to campus while saving them the hassle of finding an open parking space or a long walk across campus. Bikes will not be locked up but available for any student to use. “It’s a new convenience created by students for students,” said Nate Summerfield, a member of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE).

According to Summerfield, used bikes will be inspected, repaired and painted Loper blue and gold before they see the sidewalk. Cards with a number to call for repairs will be attached to the bikes in order to facilitate upkeep. “Hopefully, the program will make parking a little bit less of an issue,” Summerfield said.

Bikes involved in Recycled Cycles are donated from the abandoned bikes held by the university facilities department or purchased from the Salvation Amy, according to student body president Cade Craig.

Student government and SIFE, are organizing Recycled Cycles through an American Democracy Project grant, according to Dr. John Anderson, the ADP coordinator and a professor of political science. ADP grants are aimed at encouraging civic engagement and increasing political engagement. This grant should cover the startup and a portion of the maintenance for the program.

The student government began organizing recycled cycles after seeing a similar bike share program at the University of Nebraska Omaha according to Craig.  SIFE was drawn to this program by the group’s interest in “environmental sustainability” and will be responsible for maintenance and improvements once recycled cycles gets rolling.

UNO’s bike share program began in the fall semester of 2009 with 10 donated bikes, said UNO student body president Michael Crabb, a junior architectural engineering major from Omaha. Though not an uncommon idea, according to UNO bike share organizer and professor of health Dr. David Corbin, UNO has the only bike share program in Omaha that uses “repaired older bikes that we do not lock or check out.”

Theft is one of the main concerns for such an open program but UNO has avoided such problems. The UNO bike share program has only had one bike totaled and avoided theft— because as Crabb points out, “the bikes used are old and repaired so they aren’t worth much.”   Repairs for UNO’s bikes are discounted to half price on labor by program sponsor TREK.

Winter weather put a halt to the bike rides at UNO in the fall and slowed the launch of the UNK program. However, UNO experienced great success before winter weather began tormenting Omaha. “We conservatively estimate that over 2500 trips were taken until the weather turned bad,” Dr. Corbin said.

Crabb is optimistic about the future of the program at UNO. “I think the program will definitely continue to grow, the question is how quickly.”

Kearney students and faculty who are familiar with recycled cycles are excited. “I received positive responses from classmates I’ve talked to,” Craig said.

According to Dr. Anderson, “Recycled cycles is a great project.”

“I think people will use it. I’ll use it,” Summerfield said, “Plus, isn’t it just a cool idea?”

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