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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stopping by Campus on a Rainy Afternoon

Whose tent this is, I think I know.
A Bike Loan Program of UO;
I saw some students stopping here
for coffee, pastries—free, f'sho.

The bikey people came to hear
Commuters' questions, hopes and fears.
Mechanics yanked tire's tubes to take
them to a puddle that was near
and bubble-check for leaks that make
them difficult to air-inflate.
As rain did splash off hoods and seep
through denim, stopping students spake.
The tent was lovely, dry and free,
But they have bottom lines to meet.
So e-mail, call or write, toot sweet
To keep this program on its feet.

Seriously, though. The program is nearing the end of its pilot year, and the University can pick it up or cancel it.

Right now, the ASUO is forming a committee to allocate over $100,000 for sustainability programs. Though several thousand dollars have been promised to Campus Recycling, the student government may choose to withhold many monies for future projects.

Less than one fifth of the fund would sustain the Bike Loan Program for an entire year, during which it could be absorbed into other budgets. The program could die without financial support from the University, and this is the most direct, appropriate source of funding this year.

I asked Program Coordinator Briana Orr why they don't just charge more and fund themselves—all equipment is loaned on refundable deposits, and students use the shop space for free. She pointed out the program's purpose is to support students who can't afford to buy a cheap bike; that by making cycling accessible, they can better propagate active, healthy, sustainable transport.

So if you like the idea of students riding bikes or if you're a student who rides a bike, tell the students who decide where the money goes where you think they should put it.

Think: without this program, this fella would be walking:
With any luck, he won't bother to unsuspend his license.

OK. For enduring my poem, rant and unspectacular video interview, here's a clip of me falling off a little kid's bike:
"Get the detail on the ah, the chainstays there—the seatstays. See that?"

"NO BRAKES, BABY! IT'S FIXED!"

Now go write a letter.

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