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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

No one wants to ride their bicycle: Carleton’s neglected bikes

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Flat tires, rusty chains, and a misshapen, discolored frame; the familiar visage of an abandoned bike on Carleton’s campus. Forgotten or intentionally forsaken by its owners, bikes such as these often impede the work of Grounds Maintenance Services, who are forced to remove the unclaimed and unwanted bikes to the grounds’ storage facilities.

“Periodically we’ll tag bikes that appear to be abandoned or out of service and we’ll just request that the students remove the tag or move it to an appropriate location,” said Grounds Manager Jay Stadler. “if that doesn’t happen by a prescribed time, we’ll move it into storage, and we’ll keep it for a period of time.” Often in “obvious disrepair,” these lonely bikes are either recycled, sold at the charitable Lighten Up Sale in June, or repurposed by the local bike shop, Fit To Be Tri’d, who “get them operating in a safe and sound manner, and then offer them for sale to students for a reduced rate.”

Although this reduces Grounds’ inventory, there are still hundreds of unused bikes in their storage facilities. “When I started working here two and half years ago, there were about 300 bikes in storage,” according to Stadler. Left to rust, locked on a tree or light pole, sad, solitary bikes are consistently deserted by their owners each year. When asked about the future plans for their bike, students overwhelmingly responded as responsible and loving bike owners, insisting that they would never recklessly leave behind their beloved two-wheeled companion. However, as the bundle of neglected bikes annually increases, students’ assertions are questionable. Are these the same people who will wantoning forsake their bikes, leaving them, cold, unused, shut up in dark storage, or sold to an unknown owner?

Stadler noted that “a lot of bikes on campus are hand-me-downs, and sometimes when students are done with them, they’re just left in the landscapes, and that’s just kind of sad.”

However, the voluntary registration program, introduced in 2013 in conjunction with SAO, has improved Grounds Services’ ability to contact the owners of the abandoned bikes. It allows Stadler to return forgotten bikes, but has not “been effective enough” because so many students choose to not register their bikes.

“We’d love to see more bikes registered,” Stadler emphasized, “it’s not about ticketing bikes or penalizing students, it’s just a way of getting the bikes back in touch with the owners, which is very nice.”

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