The finishing touches were being put on the bicycles as they stood nestled amongst the wooden beams below the colourful sign advertising: “Green College BikeShare: a revolution is at hand—bikes on demand!” And, with the bells, lights and baskets securely attached, residents at Green College gathered to celebrate their new found fleet of shared bicycles.
On Saturday June 30, the inauguration of the bike sharing project took place, spearheaded by the Green College Environment and Sustainability Committee. Rain slicked roads stole from us the pleasure of our planned bicycle race, though we found consolation in homemade julienned & fried potatoes, a home-grown Green College spinach, lettuce and chive greek salad and milkshakes, to wash it all down. Meanwhile, the four new bicycles waited patiently in their base station to receive their due attention, with their sturdy single-speed cranks and shimmering, new two-tone brown paint.
The hoopla was well appreciated, but the real content of the afternoon’s gathering was a workshop, facilitated by resident Roli Wilhelm, where a variety of discussions took place on the wonder of bicycles; the politics of bicycling; experimentations with community-owned infrastructure; and bicycle maintenance and safety. Because the workshop is mandatory for all users of the bike share system, it is designed to be interactive, informative and fun (mostly it includes an orientation for bike sharing at Green College). The workshop also demonstrates that our grass-roots project is not only meant to serve a functional need for the residence community, but to encourage experimentation with a more energy-conscious lifestyle.
The project could not have taken place without the financial support from the Sustainability Projects Fund of UBC’s Alma Mater Society (our student union); from the social and sports committees at Green College; and the administration of Green College. Special thanks to Lucas at the Bike Kitchen for expert advice and to his team for assembling our bikes and to Clark Lundeen, Green College Administration Manager, for the donation of his mountain bike and his on-going advice.
• Short-term visitors can access the bikes with special permission from the office, while long-term residents/users must pay a $5 semesterly fee and participate in a workshop.
• Bicycles can be reserved a week in advance on the BikeShare billboard located in the base station just up the path from the front office.
• Bicycles are ride at your own risk. They have been professionally retrofitted by our on-campus bike repair shop, the Bike Kitchen, and possess a lamp, a bell, a basket and a combination lock.
• Bicycling laws in Vancouver stipulate that a rider must be wearing a helmet and have lights on past dusk.