Bike program has potential

By By John Hannon

By John Hannon

When I first heard the basic premise of the Senior Council’s proposed senior gift, the UBike program, I was confused by some of the details. But after really looking into the program, it was clear to me that a lot of the components of the bike rental program are misunderstood.

The creators of UBike have clearly done their research and based many of the fundamentals of the rental program on existing systems which have been very successful. Utah State University, which has a similar program that has enjoyed a great deal of success, has been the main model for UBike. Although there is always some risk on how a program will turn out, it seems to be pretty well thought-out and could be a great addition to campus.

There has been a lot of criticism concerning the possibility of theft of the cruisers. However, after consulting officials from almost identical programs at Westminster College and Utah State (which averages three thefts per year), as well as the cruiser company, which has years of experience creating similar programs at campuses across the nation, the Senior Council concluded that theft was not going to be a major issue. Furthermore, the cruisers will have several very distinct characteristics that will make their theft much less likely. They are red cruisers, with UBike and the U’s logo plastered across the frame, which should make them fairly recognizable.

Another major concern with UBike is the fact that the bikes available for rent will be three-speed cruisers, which could prove to be incompatible with the U as our campus certainly has its share of vertical incline. But, as I found with most of the possible hiccups in the program, this option is clearly the most logical. According to Associated Students of the University of Utah Senior Class President Madison Warren, the model she has selected makes concessions to the topography of campus and is also the least labor-intensive of any other possible options. Cruisers have very few spare parts and require little maintenance in order to keep them consistently in the rental program. These exact models are part of programs on all types of campuses and seem to work just fine wherever they’ve been implemented.

I have never ridden a three-speed cruiser on campus, but I’m intrigued by UBike, and it seems like ASUU has done their homework here. I’m willing to give it a shot. I’ll be attending their kickoff celebration, April 22 at noon at the Union patio, where students and faculty will have a chance to test ride a cruiser. Come check out the bikes and see how you feel about the class of 2009’s gift to the U.

Leaving a legacy at the institution from which you received your diploma is a great goal to strive for. Hopefully the rental program takes off at the U. Give it a chance.

[email protected]

John Hannon