It is Tuesday night inside the bike shop, and the quaint hangout is animated with activity. An electric drill buzzes bolts into place, John Mayer sings from the stereo and students filter in and out following Augustana Bike Club’s (ABC) first ride of the year.
“If you look at this picture right here, this is where it all started,” said junior Derek Hamre, ABC’s vice-president. “This is the original bike club.”
Holding a small photograph framed with old bicycle chains, Hamre points to a group of roughly 12 students gathered near a collection of bikes in the fall of 2013.
In the photograph are former students Elliot Blue ‘16 and Dan Schroeder ‘14 who, at the time, had just founded ABC and would later transform the Solberg rec room into ABC’s bike repair shop. Underneath their leadership, the group was on a roll.
But when Elliot graduated in May 2016, participation lulled and ABC’s shop grew quieter.
This year, however, ABC’s new co-presidents Corey Albrecht and Mason Blue (Elliot’s younger brother) are working to change that.
“It takes the right people to do it and to be excited about it,” Albrecht said. “And it takes recruitment effort.”
With mounted bikes, painted ABC-themed walls, stringed lights and a comfy leather couch, it’s easy to forget such a cozy repair shop exists beneath Solberg Hall.
“We’re trying to get [bike club] started again since it kind of died out for a couple years,” said junior Kristina Ritschard, ABC’s media and events planner.
Ritschard said 19 people participated in their first bike ride of the year on Sept. 11, including all four ABC officers.
Since then, ABC has hosted other bike rides, such as an ice cream ride to Falls Park and a picnic ride to Bagel Boy this Saturday.
“I like meeting new people and I like being outside,” said Ritschard. “I go biking on my own, but it’s just so much more fun with other people.”
While inside the bike shop, Ritschard helps students track their miles for the first time of the year. Ritschard said people can record how many miles they bike in exchange for a prize at the end of the year.
Among the students on the ride was freshman Alexa Lammers.
“Our first ride was really good,” Lammers said. “Well, until my tire went flat.”
Luckily, four ABC members were already on it. Hunched over Lemmers’ tire, they listened for leaks and worked to get her bike rolling as soon as possible.
Repairing student bikes is, after all, the mission of ABC’s shop.
“We have all the tools, so all it takes is a quick Youtube video and we can figure it out,” Albrecht said.
For little to no charge, ABC says it’s happy to fix any student or faculty member’s bicycle. Just bring in your bicycle during their Bike Shop hours from 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday nights.
While freshmen are usually flipping through textbooks at this time, ABC is busy in the basement, getting grease on its hands and planning future bike rides, helping to keep “Biking Vikings” on the trails.
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