One way Augustana helps keep students on the trails is through the Augustana Bike Share program, which allows students to rent one of its six bikes for up to three hours for free.
However, with frequent student use, the bicycles inevitably need repairs. For this reason, it’s not uncommon to see one of Augustana Bike Share’s six forest-green bicycles mounted in Augustana Bike Club’s (ABC) shop.
There’s just one problem. While ABC is happy to repair the program’s bikes for paid service hours, they don’t own them. ABC and Bike Share are different organizations. And when it comes to a broken pedal, tire or chain, the costs can add up for ABC.
But just who to go to for funding to repair Bike Share bicycles can be difficult as the owner of Bike Share is unclear.
“[In terms of who owns it], right now the bike share program is up in limbo,” said ASA President Anna Stritecky. “When the bikes were bought, they were not bought by a specific owner, but were purchased with donations from several organizations such as the International Programs Office (IPO), ASA and ABC.”
Because there was no single purchaser, no single organization took ownership of the program and, thus, no organization was designated the financial responsibility of upkeep.
Since Augustana launched Bike Share in May 2016, the program has been popular on campus, especially for international students whose driving options can be limited.
“In previous years, when I didn’t have a car, I absolutely used the bikes,” said senior Hatem Khalfaoui. “I used them many, many times, whether it was going to Hyvee, doing stuff around campus or going downtown. It was definitely very helpful.”
Senior Alessandra Abel said, “[The program] was helpful because I wanted to get into biking and I wanted the practice, but it was also helpful when I just needed something small from the store and I didn’t have a ride.”
During an ASA meeting on Sept. 18, ABC co-presidents Cory Albrecht and Mason Blue requested $70 to buy new parts for a Bike Share bicycle in need of repair. ASA passed a motion to allocate the money to ABC from its Community Development Fund.
In terms of which organization would be funding future repairs for other Bike Share bikes is still unclear.
“In Bike Club’s constitution, [it says] they take care of the maintenance,” said Stritecky. “But I’m not sure on the funding. That’s an issue we will address hopefully in the coming meetings.”