There’s a nice story in the Homer News this week about a new bike-lending program at the Kachemak Bay Campus, Kenai Peninsula College-University of Alaska Anchorage.
The program is sponsored by the Kachemak Bay Campus Student Association and coordinated by Lucas Wilcox, who spent the past couple of years watching for repairable bikes at the Salvation Army that he could fix up for the program. The goal is to get campus visitors out of their cars and using a transportation mode that doesn’t use oil. Most car trips in America are less than two miles, so making bikes available is a good, healthy way to cut down on the campus’ carbon footprint.
Each of the bikes has been painted blue and gold (the team colors for Homer High School), and then conveniently parked at various locations around campus for students, faculty and other campus employees to use when they need to get around campus. Right now the program has a dozen bikes and so far three have been placed in a bike rack near the main entrance to the campus, and several other bikes are kept in reserve to use as back-ups should one of the others break down or disappear.
“I proposed it to the student government and everybody said, ‘Good idea. You should do that.’ So, I said all right I would,” Wilcox said. “Slowly but surely, I bought bicycles from the Salvation Army and fixed them up and painted them.”
Each bike also is outfitted with equipment obtained through Derek Reynolds of Cycle Logical (a Homer bike store) that records mileage and allows Wilcox to estimate the amount of petroleum products the bikes are saving. Before the first week of the semester had ended, the bikes had been ridden 10 miles.
Carol Swartz, campus director, said the bike-lending program is a match for the campus and student association’s goals.
“The student association is thrilled that the project is completed,” Swartz said about seeing the program in use. “It’s part of the campus’ long-term sustainability plan. The student association identified it as a priority to offer KBC students to help reduce the amount of time they need to drive their cars around town or between the east and west campuses.”
Wilcox said he hopes to expand the program to Homer High School and the KPC Kenai River Campus. He also is thinking about adding studded tires to the bikes for winter-time use.
For more information about KBC’s bike-lending program, or to make donations of bicycles or bicycle parts, call Wilcox at 299-6644 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Editor’s note: On Sept. 21, USA Today ran an article about bike-sharing programs on college campuses, and the University of Alaska Anchorage is mentioned in the article.)