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FreeCycle offers new transportation option

Thursday, April 16, 2009   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Katy Watson
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The recent “green” activities have expanded once again as SGA introduces a free bicycle-leasing program on campus.

The program, officially named, FreeCycle, was the brainchild of SGA Vice President Wil Norton after learning about a similar program implemented at the University of Central Oklahoma.

“I heard about it and thought it was a great idea, especially when gas was so expensive last summer,” Norton said. “I was riding my bike everywhere. I thought to give people a chance to do that would be worthwhile.”

Norton was briefed on the program by the UCO students and decided to bring it to Oklahoma Christian. They gave Norton a copy of their liability contract, which he says helped them out with the legal work.

The program's purpose is to give students who don't have any other means of transportation a free and easy way to get around. Sophomore Sam Durrill, chairman of the Green Committee, says there are many benefits to this program being applied
on campus.

“If you are driving a car all the time, you will be able to ride a bike and avoid gas money,” Durrill said. “There are environmental incentives as well.”

SGA Secretary Abigail Townsend hopes this program will promote exercise.
“It ties into a bunch of different things we want to promote,” Townsend said.

Not only will the bikes be available for riding to class, but students will be able to take the bikes off campus to run errands.

“I can imagine people using them to go to convenience stores or Homeland if you're ambitious,” Norton said.

This program will be especially useful for international students.

“I have heard a lot of ideas to help get them get to places like grocery stores,” Norton said. “This might be it.”

In FreeCycle's early stages, SGA executive officers sent an e-mail to other members asking them for a creative name for the program. Senior Reid Agan sent in a full list of possibilities.

“The top five choices were Neil's Wheels, Mike's Bike, Cycle-ogical, Ghostrider and Rack-n-Roll,” Agan said.

Norton decided on FreeCycle because of the message it portrays. He wants this program to raise awareness of the fact students don't need a car to drive around campus, and they can find alternate means of transportation.

“The idea of FreeCycle is that it gives everyone a chance to have a form of transportation,” Norton said. “Someone can use it then someone else can. There will be no sense of ownership. It helps with the idea of community awareness.”

The name also plays off the recycling idea.

“I think it has a dual meaning, both that we have a bike service that doesn't cost students anything as well as the fact that we are trying to recycle and share,” Agan said. “People don't have to go buy bikes, so we can better utilize our resources.”

In order to make this dream become a reality, SGA received a donation with help from Doug Bryant, director of physical plant operations. The rest of the funds, about two thirds, came from the SGA campus improvement budget. Al's Bicycles in
Edmond provided the bikes. The store gave the university free bike locks along with unlimited free repairs and a sign with the program logo on each bike Norton said.

The bikes purchased by SGA are black Raleigh Cruisers with pedal brakes.

“They are high quality and simple,” Norton said.

As of now, Oklahoma Christian will have more bikes per student than UCO.

However, if the program becomes popular, SGA is open to the possibility of buying more.

The bike renting will take place in the library. As of now, bike rentals will be limited to one week, however, SGA hopes to extend the renting period next semester.

Junior Darcey McRay says she thinks this program could be helpful in emergency situations.

“I think it's a good idea just in case someone's car breaks down and they have no other form of transportation,” McRay said. “I think it's helpful for the student body.”

SGA President Colby Simonds says he hopes this program will serve as a starting ground to look for locations for permanent bike racks.

“The purpose is to make the overall campus more bike friendly,” Simonds said.

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