Biking around now easier than ever
Thereâ€™s a handy new way to zip around campus and beyondâ€”by borrowed bike. The UMass Amherst Bike Share Program, set up to encourage alternative transportation, is now freely accessible to students, faculty, and staff with a valid UCard. The bikes are housed outside the Student Union, secured to newly covered bike racks.
Riders can sign out bikes, helmets, and locks from the Student Government Association (SGA) office, Room 420 Student Union, for a maximum of 24 hours or from Friday to Monday morning. The project has been underwritten by a gift from the Class of 2010 and supported by the Student Government Association and the Sustainability Project.
Claire Hopkins â€™12, a Communication and Psychology double major and a former Secretary of Sustainability for the SGA, worked as a Sustainability Summer Intern to bring the project to completion. Former Sustainability Coordinator Josh Stoffel â€™09 and senior Political Science and Earth Systems double major Amber Hewett, also a former SGA Secretary of Sustainability, initiated the program.
Hopkins, who is spending the fall semester studying at the University of Manchester in England, explains that Worksman Cycles, a New York-based company thatâ€™s produced handcrafted bikes for over a century, won the bid to supply twenty-five heavy-duty, high-quality new cycles. Ten additional bikes abandoned on campus are being refurbished for the program and plans are afoot to acquire several mountain bikes. Bike Share program bikes meet all safety standards for the town of Amherst and may be used on and off campus. During the winter, Physical Plant will keep the shelters free of snow and Bike Share users may ride at their own discretion.
Working on sustainability issues for the past two years, Hopkins applied for the summer internship open to Communication majors with the prospect of writing publicity materials, but found herself involved in all aspects of launching the program. She wants the Bike Share program to catch on and expand into the residence hall areas and even into downtown Amherst. â€śI hope to see the program grow,â€ť Hopkins says. â€śIâ€™m excited too that the SGA is taking ownership of the program and that this will get more people involved in the work of the SGA itself.â€ť