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Bike−share program to be unveiled this week

Published: Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Updated: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 07:03


Andrew Morgenthaler / Tufts Daily

Tufts Bikes will on Friday launch its bike-sharing program at a kickoff event featuring free food and a parade of 30 newly purchased Kona bikes.

Tufts Bikes, a student organization dedicated to spreading bike accessibility at Tufts, will launch its bike−share program this Friday, showcasing a fleet of new bicycles available for student use as early as this weekend.

The kickoff event, which will feature a bike parade, informational booths manned by bike−advocacy organizations and a ribbon−cutting ceremony led by University President Lawrence Bacow, will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. on the Mayer Campus Center upper patio.

The bikes will be available for student use this weekend, at which time riders can check out a bike, helmet, lock and keys at the Tisch Library circulation desk for free using their Tufts ID, according to Tufts Bikes President Sally Sharrow, a senior. The bikes will be divided between two bike rack stations — one outside of the entrance to Tisch and another at the campus center's upper patio — and can be borrowed for up to eight hours.

The effort is made possible through the $50,000 that the TCU Senate allocated in surplus funds to Tufts Bikes in November. With the funds, the group last month purchased 30 bikes from manufacturer Kona, according to group treasurer Karen Andres. With a wholesale discount, the bikes were priced at $300 apiece, Andres, a senior, said.

The organization bought two different models of Kona bikes, which Sharrow said have a reputation for being easy to ride and maintain. The 20 Kona AfricaBikes and 10 WorldBikes are versatile and sturdy, making them ideal for heavy use on a college campus, she said.

The group's choice of Kona as a provider had the additional benefit of helping to reduce poverty abroad, according to Andres.

"Every two AfricaBikes you buy, they donate a bike to aid workers in Africa," Andres said.

Tufts Bikes Vice President Neil Aronson, a freshman, hopes that the bike−share program will induce a visible change in the Tufts community.

"One of our main goals is to make Tufts Bikes a staple of campus culture," Aronson said.

The opening celebration is designed to inform the broader Tufts community of the group's commitment to making bikes readily accessible for all wishing to use them, Sharrow said.

All 30 bikes will be on display during the celebration and will be ridden through campus along Professors Row and Talbot Avenue as part of a parade, according to Sharrow.

"At this little parade, members of Tufts Bikes will be riding the bikes," she said.

All members of the Tufts community are welcome to participate in the event, Andres said.

"People are invited to bring their bikes," she said.

Tufts Bikes representatives will be on hand at the launch to inform students about the services offered by the group and about the logistics of the bike−sharing program, Andres said.

The launch will also feature various educational stations community members can visit to learn more about bike resources on campus and in the Boston area.

"We're going to have a number of tables from different vendors — local bike shops and bike−related organizations," Aronson said.

Local bicycle advocacy organizations, including Livable Streets Alliance, Urban AdvenTours, and Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition will be present at the kickoff, according to Andres.

A number of local vendors, including Boloco, Redbones BBQ and J.P. Licks, have offered food donations for the launch. The event will feature a prize wheel, which will offer, among other items, T−shirts, tickets to the Somerville Theater and gift certificates to Sound Bites Café, according to Andres.

"We have had a lot of businesses from Ball Square and Davis Square donate prizes," Sharrow said.

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