Knox’s bike advocates have cause to celebrate: there will be a short-term bike share program by winter term at the latest, according to Sustainability Coordinator Shawn Tubb. The new program will likely be run through the Roger Taylor Lounge, and students can borrow bikes by handing over their IDs for the length of their ride.
In order to make this long-awaited plan a reality, Student Senate authorized funds last spring term to buy six bikes. They have also authorized the Office of Sustainability to hire three student mechanics to work in the bike shop, located in the basement of Conger-Neal, as well as expanding funding for the Bike Club to extend their services and events.
Most of the Bike Club members are affiliated with the bike shop program and have extensive experience with bikes.
Junior and Bike Club secretary Max Potthoff has been “working with Cyclists of Galesburg, as a placement through KnoxCorps” and recently ran the Three Lakes Ride into Autumn. This was a 42 ride passing by Lake Storey, Lake Bracken and Lake Rice on Sept. 23, where he was joined by around 10 Knox cyclists.
However, bike share programs are not new to Knox: the Office of Campus Safety has had a bike loan program for several years now. Campus Safety used bikes that had been abandoned or donated to the school, and the loans were generally considered long-term.
Bike registration is also being taken more seriously this year by Campus Safety, who self-administers the registration labels given to them by the City of Galesburg. Next year, bike registration will become mandatory, with this year acting as a testing ground to try to get all bikes registered. It is still unknown whether there will be an attempt to penalize those with unregistered bikes.
Student mechanics have three priorities, according to Tubb: first and foremost, to fix up the bikes left by graduates and donors that are missing parts, as well as maintenance in order to get them ready for the long-term bike share program. Even though “the mechanics just started two weeks ago, they’ve already gotten nine bikes repaired.”
Secondly, the mechanics are to help Knox students maintain their personal bikes with help and advice.
“[While] the shop is pretty basic, they have gotten more stuff recently and should be well-equipped by now. The mechanics helped and advised me adjust to some things… they are good to talk to about bikes,” sophomore Trevor Curnow said.
Last but not least, student mechanics are to help educate the student community about bike culture and safety through workshops starting in winter term. The workshops are expected to cover topics from bike maintenance to building fixed-gear bikes.
Junior and Bike Club president Alex Domasik is excited about the revival of Knox’s bike culture, and considers the administration “really keen on having a functioning sustainable bike program. Shawn Tubb is really active and supportive of that.”