or - "But she didn't want cheeseburgers"*
That's Andy, Bicycling for Louisville director, Jimmy, me, and Marcus standing out in the freezing temperatures spreading the word about our club at the bike day last week. Zach and Quentin were also there for support and Justin Mog from U of L sustainability stopped by with some bikes maps. Thanks to everyone who came and helped. We passed out some fliers, and had one new attendee at the meeting afterwards (glad you could make it Elijah!). We even got to work on a few bikes for some students (3, maybe 4!?). Just shows that it pays to ride even when it's cold out.
Besides generating some publicity, I took away a couple inspirations for the club:
1. Reduce Theft
Lots of students said their bikes had been stolen. In most cases it's probably something like this: They move into a dorm or student housing in the fall and park their bike at the adjacent bike rack with a flimsy cable lock. They use it to get around campus etc. occasionally but then for whatever circumstance (say winter perhaps) they don't use it for a few months, during which time it gets stolen, which is not hard to do. I've cut the locks off two bikes on campus before (one mine, the other a friends, both because the lock was stuck shut). It only takes a couple minutes and no one bats an eye.
As our presence as a club increases we'll be able to inform students about the advantages of a sturdy U-lock, and get everyone more engaged in cycling which reduces the ease and oppotunity for theft. We're still limited in scope though, I'm not sure what the freshman orientation is like now but the university should include some info about storing, parking and riding your bike around. You know, while they're talking about the different car parking permit colors, lots, garages, meters, shuttles and all the other shit that's necessary for us to drive our cars everywhere.
That aside, campus residents currently don't have much of an option for bike storage. Dorms/Kurz/Bettie etc. are small enough to make keeping your bike inside a hassle. Racks are great for bike parking, storage not so much. I'm wary just to leave my bike locked up on campus overnight. Most residences already have bike racks outside. It would be simple to put a fence around them with a gate that could be unlocked with it's respective building's entry fob. A roof would be nice to protect from the elements and increase security but just a decent fence would be enough to strongly discourage theft.
2. Get Pumped
The majority of student cyclists are riding on underinflated tires. They probably don't know how much proper inflation improves the bike's efficiency and reduces the risk of pinch flats. Marcus tried to offer assistance to a girl rolling by on some flatties but she quickly locked her bike up and ran away. He inflated the tires anyway and I'm sure she's experiencing a faster, smoother ride now! So what if we had a "GET PUMPED!!!" day where we traverse campus, pumps in hand and make sure tires of the parked bikes are inflated to proper pressure? Then tag the bikes with a flier that says something like "Air in your tires, courtesy of U of L cycing. Get pumped!" Obviously there are some concerns with messing with peoples bikes but I think we could pull it off. Input appreciated.
That's all I got. Good luck on finals everyone!