The bike rental program is funded through a grant of roughly $10,000 from a campus sustainability fee students pay each semester. The bikes will be available for short- and long-term rentals starting in April through the UAF Outdoor Adventures program.
According to the News-Miner, the bike rental program is part of a larger UAF campus drive to reduce vehicle traffic and auto exhaust emissions. The program funds 20 new entry-level Kona mountain bikes, which will be available to students. The campus also has a stockpile of about 100 used bikes that could become available once they are fixed up.
Fairbanks bicycle designer Simon Rakower told the News-Miner that previous attempts to start a campus bike rental program stalled because they relied on donated used bikes, which sometimes required obscure parts or constant repairs. Starting with a fleet of similar-model new bikes will make this effort more successful, he said.
At this time, the plan is for the program to start after spring break-up and continue through the summer and into the fall. But at this time it’s unclear if the bikes will be available for winter riding, even though Fairbanks has a large winter cycling community. Winterizing the bikes costs a lot of money, and riding on the snow and ice is more than most casual cyclists want to attempt.