Bryn Athyn College students are now getting around campus in a colorful way. Twelve bright yellow bikes, part of the College Bike Share program that started this spring semester, have become a campus fixture almost overnight. This eco-friendly trend is showing up on campuses and in cities all over the country, but Bryn Athyn College's program has a unique link to the Bryn Athyn community.
The bikes in the program start out in the garages and storage rooms of Bryn Athyn community members. They are donated to the Bryn Athyn Thrift Shop, where the ones that need a lot of work are separated and put on hold for the College. The College purchases them for a nominal fee and students, with training from local mechanic Chuck White, fix the bikes and prepare them for the Bike Share program.
Every bike goes through the same process: strip, sand, paint, reassemble, ride! The bike's gears and handle brakes—the two components most difficult to repair—are removed and replaced with a coaster brake. This helps keep maintenance costs low. The bikes are then painted a bright, unmistakable shade of yellow.
Once repaired and painted, Bike Share bikes are placed on campus for student use.
The Bike Share program is a student-led initiative built on one common principle: sharing. The bikes are not reserved in advance, or designated for certain riders—they are simply shared. As one student put it, "There is a special kind of joy in leaving class and seeing a yellow bike parked outside waiting for you."
Twelve bikes for an entire student body may not seem like a lot, but Bryn Athyn Students share them harmoniously, riding them from one campus location to another then leaving them for the next rider to find conveniently outside after class lets out.
Senior Biology major Joe Grubb was instrumental in getting the program—and the bikes—up and running. While living in San Francisco prior to enrolling in Bryn Athyn College, Grubb spent a lot of time volunteering at the Bike Kitchen, an establishment that helps community members build and fix their own bikes. He brought his knowledge and love of bikes with him to the East coast. Now, just before graduation, he is passing on his knowledge to other students to fix the yellow bikes in the future.
In addition to providing students with eco-friendly, cross-campus transportation, the Bike Share program also provides students with a venue for giving back to the community, with hopes to turn the Bike Share garage into a community fix-it shop staffed by a team of students trained in bike repair. This valuable work-study opportunity would enable students to learn a practical skill while serving their community.
Director of Student Activities, Spring Silverman, oversees the program. She coordinated the purchase of the bikes and the launch of the program, but the maintenance and sharing of the cycles is entirely student led. Silverman is adamant that the program remain a student-initiative, so she is building a work-study element into the program for next year.
Senior Chad Odhner says, "The bike share program makes me smile from ear to ear and from here to there!" Following an eager clamoring from students, more bikes are already in the process of being transformed into bright yellow Bike Share cycles.
And for now, the program is already bringing joy and rapid, eco-friendly transportation to the 130-acre Bryn Athyn campus.