A bicycle built for you

UO Bike Program rents simple bikes to students on the cheap

The old Roadmaster mountain bike that Rik Chakraborti rides each day to the University of Oregon has chipped paint, a scuffed seat and funky yellow fenders. And it suits Chakraboti, a graduate student in economics, just fine.

“I like it,” he said. “It kind of looks not so good, but I have to tell you it’s in pretty good shape. It rides very smooth.”

The bike doesn’t belong to Chakraboti, but rather to the UO Bike Program, which rents out utilitarian bicycles to students for cheap — $12 a term, plus a $65 deposit.

The bike loan program, part of the UO Outdoor Program, is now in its third year and has seen steady growth. The first year, the program rented out about 30 bikes. Last year, it rented 60. So far this fall, the program has rented out about 80 bikes, and hopes to rent out another 20 or so later in the year, said junior Ted Sweeney, the program’s coordinator. About 80 students are on a waiting list, he said.

The program gets abandoned bikes from students and from agencies such as Lane Transit District, the Eugene Police Department and the UO Department of Public Safety.

Volunteers, working at the Outdoor Program barn at East 18th Avenue and University Street, repair, maintain and build the bikes. Each bike is equipped with yellow fenders, a wire basket, a bell, lights and a lock.

This year, Sweeney and his crew have been adding more single-speed bikes with old-fashioned coaster brakes to the fleet, because they require less maintenance.

“We want to make sure we’re giving people the simplest, most bomb-proof bicycle possible when they get a bike from us,” Sweeney said.

In addition to the rental program, the UO Bike Program offers maintenance classes, and makes its shop available for students who want to work on their bikes.

Shop hours are 9 a.m. To 5 p.m. Mondays and noon to 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays. Students can use shop tools and get help fixing their bike for free.

— Contact UO Web reporter Tim Christie at timc@uoregon.edu