MU launches new Mizzou Bike Share program

Monday, August 27, 2012 | 7:47 p.m. CDT; updated 7:47 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, August 28, 2012
The Mizzou Bike Share program was launched Monday. Students can borrow one of 20 bikes for 24-hours. They do have to provide their own helmets.

COLUMBIA — Xavier Billingsley hopped on a bike outside the MU Student Center and rode off to a meeting across campus.

Billingsley, the Missouri Students Association president, was the first person to check out a bike under the new, free Mizzou Bike Share program. The program kicked off on Monday outside the MU Student Center, where the bikes are housed. Led by the Missouri Students Association and the Residence Halls Association, Mizzou Bike Share provides 20 bikes for students to borrow for up to 24 hours. 

To borrow a bike, students must sign a waiver and swipe their I.D. at the information desk in the MU Student Center in order to receive a key to one of the bikes. If the bike is not returned on time, there is a $10 fee charged each day until the cost of the bike is met or the bike is returned. 

The bikes were purchased from Worksman Cycles and include a step-through frame, a big seat, a rack for books or other carry-ons and two ways to brake —pedaling backwards or using the hand brake.

The program does not provide helmets. All riders are required to wear a helmet, however, and safety tips are included in the waiver.

"It's just too much to handle at this time since we don't have room for them. We would have to clean them out and would have to provide different sizes," said James Jordan, Sustainability Coordinator for Residence Halls Association. "We might in the future though."

Jordan and Tyler Ricketts, MSA Board of Elections chairmen, started planning the program 10 months ago after noticing bike-share programs at other schools. In April, a survey through MU Info asked students if they would want a bike-share program on campus. More than 300 students responded and 90 percent said yes, Rickett said. 

The program is sponsored by the Missouri Students Association, Residence Halls Association, Missouri Student Unions, Student Fee Capital Improvement Committee, the Environmental Leadership Office, the Division of Information Technology and the Office of Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. 

Ricketts said he thinks the measure of success for the program would be to always see the bike rack empty. 

"When demand is greater than supply, I'll think we're doing something right," Ricketts said. 

Supervising Editor is Karen Miller.

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Mark Foecking August 28, 2012 | 3:11 p.m.

These bikes should be protected from the weather. Rain and freezing weather are hard on cables and chains, and sun will make the seats and other rubber/plastic parts deteriorate.

One plus is Worksman cycles are some of the last bicycles to be made in the USA (in New York City). They're heavy, but rugged. They're not fun to ride uphill.

Worksman also makes a lot of the hot dog carts in the country.

We'll see how this works out. Most students have cars, and gasoline is still cheap enough that most don't think about it in an area the size of Columbia.


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