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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

students for bikes for students

A week ago today, I went to a UO senate meeting.

For the better part of two hours, this was my reality: a dozen young people sitting around a table covered in laptops, arguing in a highly stylized fashion.

Occasionally, the monotony would be broken by presenters from student groups: the veteran's association, the debate team, the linguistics association. In fact, my purpose in attending was one such group's presentation.

Outdoor Program Coordinator Dan Geiger and Bike Loan Program Coordinator Briana Orr were there to represent the UO Bike Loan Program. In its "pilot" year, the program has fully refurbished 50 bicycles and loaned them to students for a fully-refundable $65 deposit, built a comprehensive maintenance shop in the Outdoor Programs building, and organized numerous workshops and events.

All of this, as well as compensation for a full staff, was accomplished with $18,000 in over-realized university funds and $5,000 from Clif Bar & Co. With plans for more workshops, day rentals, weekend bike trips, and a transition from a fully-refundable deposit to a smaller deposit and a fee, the program will be more able to sustain itself in the future.

However, as it transitions from pilot state, the program requires liquid funds. Fortunately, it is an ideal candidate for university dollars allocated toward energy tax credits. This is why Geiger and Orr were patiently waiting their turn to be heard in a crowded conference room at the top of the student union building past 10 p.m. last Wednesday. After two hours of waiting, my patience ran out, but I was able to contact Orr afterward to ask how it went:

The presentation was well received. All of the senators agreed that they wanted to fund the program, but they also wanted to make the Energy Tax Credit funding available for all programs and students to apply for equally. So although we didn't get funding on Wednesday, when they figure out the logistics, we will be able to apply. I'm confident that we will be a good competitor for that pot of money.

I also pulled her aside for a few questions on video:

Key points from Orr:

UO students should ride bikes for the same reasons as I mentioned - protecting the global and local environment, to stay healthy. Also, it is easier to bike around campus than drive around campus - and much easier to find a space on a bike rack. It's more fun than driving; you can smile or wave at your friends as you ride by.

Students should loan a bike from us because it's easier than bringing a bike from home, especially if your home is in across the country or overseas. Also, it is more sustainable than buying a new bicycle because ours are recycled from DPS. We also make it easy because we provide everything you need to bicycle in Eugene - a helmet, lock, lights, and fenders.

Right on! Ride a bike because it's more fun and it keeps you in touch!

Visit the UO Bike Loan Program's website, or drop in at "the barn" on the northeast corner of 18th & University during shop hours:

Mon: 9 am - 2 pm
Thu: 12 pm - 6 pm
Fri: 12 pm - 6 pm
Sat: 9 am - 12 pm

It's FREE for UO students and $15/year for the rest of us!

Stay tuned for upcoming events and opportunities to support this brilliant, necessary program.

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