By Heather Kuch Transcript Correspondent
The absence of the Bishop Bikes program in the fall of 2011 raised many questions and affected those students who utilized the bikes as a form of transportation.
The Bishop Bikes program began in the fall of 2009 as a bike-share program created by senior Christina Fesz. Students paid five dollars each semester for a universal key which would unlock any of the program bikes on campus.
While the same bike a student rode to class could be taken by someone else, it was believed that the bikes would circulate so the bikes would be available all around campus at any time.
Fesz said she simply enjoys the experience of biking.
“I just love biking, and how it is not only useful in getting from one place to another, but how a simple ride can instantly improve your day and brings you closer to your body and the environment.”
The program began to experience problems when three of the bikes went missing in the 2009-2010 school year. In the 2010-2011 school year, many of the bikes were mistreated and others would not be locked up, which resulted in people from outside the program taking the bikes.
“People from outside the school were gaining access to the bikes, and in fact, one man spray-painted a bike white, and tried to sell it back to Breakaway Cycling,” Fesz said. “I was also told that some students were stashing the bikes in their rooms, or hiding the bikes to make sure that they were the only ones using that bike.”
Fesz issued a survey to the student body in the spring of 2011 about the program and found that most students didn’t like the uncertainty of having a bike available at any given time or location. Other concerns included the mistreatment and hoarding of the bikes and the lack of advertising of the program.
“Although I liked the premise of the first-generation program, with its purely community-based foundation and its reliance and focus on sharing and trust between students, the people in the program have to buy into the system 100 percent, and this was not happening.” Fesz said.
Following the survey, Fesz created a revised plan for the bike program which will include only one checkout location at the Hobson Science library. Students who sign up for the program can check-out a bike at the library desk during its normal hours. They will then be issued a key, which unlocks a specific bike that will be stored in a rack outside of the library. The student then has the bike for 24-48 hours and returns it to the library. A small fee will be issued for returning the bike late.
Fesz plans to add more bikes to the program, and members of the program are helping to fix up some of the current bikes. The program will be launched in early March and anyone who is interested in helping with the program, or has any questions or suggestions, can contact Christina Fesz at email@example.com.
“It’s so easy to get enthralled in a ride, and I would love all students to have the resources to experience the convenience and enjoyment of riding a bike,” Fesz said. “Get ready to ride, OWU!”