Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Sayonara Yellow Bike Club? Free, easy bikes no longer a Carleton symbol

<w somewhat of a dying rumor, Carleton’s Yellow Bike Club used to be an active club promoting the sharing and fixing of bikes for communal student use.

The club’s purpose was to “first build and maintain the yellow bikes around campus, and second to help people do work on their personal bikes,” recapped Irene Hussey ‘12, a club member.

Once a bike was fixed, it would be spray-painted yellow and left available for any student in need of a bike to use around campus.

But beginning last year, many students started noting an absence in yellow bikes around campus, leading up to the total extinction of painted yellow bikes this year. Many students have been wondering why.

Hussey gave several reasons, explaining that when she joined YBC two years ago, “there were a couple of really knowledgeable seniors running the club, but there weren’t many enthusiastic underclassmen, which led to a bit of a leadership vacuum when they graduated.”

Also, “yellow bikes tended to get pretty beat up.  Those that didn’t get thrown in the lakes needed constant work and the few people we had left in the YBC couldn’t fix them fast alive.”

In addition, “our open shop hours were generally eaten up by people wanting help on their personal bikes, which was great, but meant that we had even less time to devote to the yellow bikes.” 

The club has had several small revivals, including meeting with the Student Activities Office to discuss more funding for the club. Though SAO was supportive, the school is ultimately liable for anyone injured on public bikes funded by the school, and thus couldn’t really support the club. In order to address the liability issue, some sort of checkout system would have had to been installed, and students would have to sign waivers before using the bikes.

“The point of the yellow bikes was that they were available without any planning, when a student was late to class or just wanted to cruise around campus,” Hussey said. “And anyway, SOPE already runs a bike checkout program, so taking the YBC in that direction didn’t seem worthwhile.”

As a result of the continued complications, the YBC has decided to re-channel its focus by helping students maintain their personal bikes. It has renamed itself the Carleton Bike Cooperative to avoid confusion.

“[I] feel pretty good about this decision, because that was what people were using the club for anyway, but if someone comes along and really wants to revive the program, they will have my support,” Hussey said.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *