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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Campus “pump, pump, pumps it up” for new bike shop

This year in the basement of Shore Hall, a new bike shop has opened to the delight of cyclists, environmentalists, and all those who are “bike-curious.”

“We thought it would be cool to have a site on campus to promote sustainability, and then to have students working there that have one foot in the bike shop, and one foot on the larger campus, doing bigger things to promote sustainability,” said Assistant Professor of History Damon Akins.

Akins sits on the Sustainability Council and oversees internships for the bike shop.

Although it had planned on an earlier date, the bike shop opened on Sept. 27. The delay was due to layout and space issues, according to Akins. Since opening, however, the bike shop’s traffic has been growing.

“The first day we had three people visiting, the next day we had six, the next we had 12 — it’s just been multiplying,” said Merrit White, owner of the Recycles bike shop on Spring Garden Street.

The idea for an on-campus bike shop was largely the result of the collaboration between White and Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Jim Dees. The shop was approved with the Sustainability Council’s support.

“The idea of the bike shop is to build community around a form of alternative transportation — to build a biking culture on campus,” said Dees.

The bike shop encourages Guilford’s move toward carbon neutrality, part of our “Green and Beyond” theme year.

“We thought this could not only support sustainability on campus, but spark a discussion about sustainability,” said Akins. “We want not only to support, but to encourage (sustainable practices).”

“We can’t get everyone a Prius, but we might be able to get everyone a bike,” said Dees.

The shop is open from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, and does everything you would expect a regular bike shop to do, including free “Quaker Tune-Ups” for students, faculty, and staff. The tune-ups include lubing the chain, airing up tires, and adjusting the gears and breaks.

“Every card-carrying member of the Quaker nation can come down here and get free tune-ups,” said Dees.

In addition to the free tune-ups, the shop has many bike supplies available. If that was not enough, students will be on the edge of their seats waiting for a bike rental program starting up next semester.

The bike shop also provides work-study opportunities for students. First-year Mia Rena is a work-study student helping White in the shop this semester.

“I really enjoy working here,” Rena said, commenting on the friendly atmosphere and benefits the shop provides to the campus.

Those involved with the shop would like to do more than provide standard services, though. They aim to expand the scope of the shop, helping educate the community about bike safety, maintenance, and other topics related to biking and sustainability.

“One of my jobs as an intern will be to do things like organize group rides to make people more aware of the rules of the road,” said senior George Rossmann, a geology and environmental studies double major who is interning at the bike shop.

White and Akins also spoke of the bike shop’s tent during Solarpaloza on Oct. 27, where it will be easy to ride up and get a tune-up. We should not expect them to hit the brakes there, though.

“There are so many possibilities for the future,” said White. “The doors will be opening.”

Students on campus are getting pumped, too. After his first visit to the bike shop, junior Mitchell Hamilton was impressed with the shop’s atmosphere.

“I’m excited about this,” said Hamilton. “It’s well thought out and well designed. It’s not haphazardly done; it’s very professional.”

Students should not hesitate to stop by; White and staff are friendly, knowledgeable and helpful to anyone with bicycle-related concerns.

“I have high hopes for the future; it’s a cool public space for people to hang out,” said Hamilton. “I can imagine people getting coffee in the morning and coming over here to talk about bikes.”

This and other possibilities are likely to be in the future for the bike shop, as the work force behind it shows no signs that they will tire.

“I think it’s really going to grow over the next few semesters,” Akins said. “Next semester will be even more successful than this.” 

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