New bikes for bears

New+bikes+for+bears

Mercer students will have access to affordable rental transportation through Bear Bikes, an initiative supported by the Student Government Association.

Heather Bowman-Cutway, advisor to the Student Environmental Association, organized the program along with Jordan Locke, SGA president. College Hill Alliance and Club Cycling enthusiasts sustained the transportation movement.

A recent grant made available by the Knight Foundation allowed Mercer University to purchase 30 new bikes. Riders of all experience levels will find bikes equal to their comfort level. User-friendly cruiser bikes are available for the beginner biker, in addition to road bikes and mountain bikes for more advanced riders.

Bear Bikes will be expanded in response to demand and student interest; it is intended to create a culture for cycling, instead of a few solitary riders on campus.

For a $30 membership fee paid once each semester, interested Mercerians can sign up August 23 through the 26. Bikes, locks and helmets will be handed out pending availability the following week on August 31. Dues go towards maintenance and necessary repairs of the bikes.

Service will be provided by Cherry Street Cycles, located downtown in Macon. Any problems should be reported to Bear Bikes student workers, and if necessary, staff can transport the bike to Cherry Street Cycles.

Turned in every week, the bikes will be stored in the breezeway of Connell Student Center, and by purchasing a membership, students have unlimited rentals.

Previous rental bike programs did not succeed because of cost and inconvenience. Carrie Ingoldsby, Director of Campus Life and Student Involvement, is confident that Bear Bikes will succeed. Responsible for the facilitation and advertising for the program, Ingoldsby remarked on the rentals: “I hope students enjoy [Bear Bikes] and take advantage of it.”

According to the Bear Bikes website, where information is available for students who must be aware of all rules and regulations, the purpose of the program is, “to help create a campus culture of cycling while reducing the number of cars used by students.”

Many college campuses mandate that incoming freshmen leave their cars at home due to the lack of parking. This a problem Mercerians have undoubtedly faced in recent years. Locke suggested riding bikes as an alternative, easy way to get across campus or explore what Macon has to offer.

“Mercer should be more supportive of downtown,” Locke commented, noting that biking would supply a safe and fast way to travel instead of walking or driving. He hopes that the campus-driven program will provide a niche for students.

Bear Bikes will be marketed to Mercer students, especially freshmen, as a relatively cheap, convenient transportation option that is not only easy on your budget, but better for your health and the environment.

Mercer has made a number of changes to reduce its environmental impact, along with bike racks to encourage the relatively new mode of transportation and recycling receptacles located around campus.

Interested students can find more information, rules, regulations and sign up forms at www.bearbikes.mercer.edu.