Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

U O students get free bikes with new ‘Bike Loan Program’

Posted by on October 9th, 2008 at 11:37 am

Bike Loan Program staff: Dave Villalobos,
Briana Orr, and Price Armstrong.
(Photos courtesy U O)

The University of Oregon has found something constructive to do with the many bikes that are abandoned and impounded on their Eugene campus each year — the bikes get refurbished and then loaned out to students through their new Bike Loan Program.

The program was made possible by an $18,000 grant made to the Erb Memorial Union’s (the student union on campus) Outdoor Program and a $5,000 grant from PowerBar.

The bikes are available for any student for $65 deposit which is fully refunded at the end of the academic year. Along with the bike, the program provides a U-lock, helmet, front and rear lights, fenders, and a basket.

Dan Geiger is director of the Outdoor Program. He says a culminations of factor has led to enthusiastic support for the Bike Loan Program across campus.

The bike maintenance shop.

In a press release, Geiger explained that “Campus has always had an issue with too many cars and too few spaces, but with the recent surge of gas prices along with increasing pressure for parking and decreasing parking areas due to new construction, the time for this kind of program is ripe.”

Along with the bike, the program also offers safe biking education and maintenance classes. The Rental Facility at the Outdoor Program includes a bike maintenance shop that was recently remodeled in anticipation of the new bike program. Bike safety classes will be given in collaboration with the non-profit Great Eugene Area Riders (GEARs).

Program organizers say 30 bikes have been loaned out so far, and the waiting list is already over 60 students long.

The Bike Loan Program currently has funding for one year as a pilot program, but organizers are looking for sources of long-term funding. U of O hopes the program becomes a model for other schools and community across the state.

I wonder how many students at Portland State University or the University of Portland could use a program like this?

For more information, visit the Bike Loan Program website.

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  • grimm October 9, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    This sounds like an awesome program. I hope their bike parking is descent enough to not be over crowded and safe enough that people could leave their bikes out most the day.

    Oh, and I believe you mean U of O in your headline.

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  • Dan October 9, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    So…the program has $23,000 in funding and has given out 30 bikes? Granted, we’d need some more detailed information to really work this out, but that sounds like a pretty anemic return on investment.

    Why don’t they work on refurbing those abandoned bikes and _selling_ them to students at reasonable/below market rates?

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  • Briana October 9, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    In response to Dan’s comment –

    First of all, we are loaning bikes out because students that live outside of the US or even a few states away don’t know what to do with their bikes when summer comes. The barrier is how to transport a bike to and from Eugene. By making bikes available only when they are needed, we are able to reuse this resource over and over.

    And secondly, we will be turning out more bikes as the year continues on, and our budget reflects the staff that it requires to start such an endeavor and maintain it for a full year. We could have started with volunteers and a measly budget but we wanted to do it right, make sure that we could provide quality bikes and service to students so that we can gain a good reputation on campus.

    In addition to the bikes, we have created (almost from scratch) a bike maintenance shop with three full sets of tools; this shop is available to any student to use free of charge.

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  • Sodapop Johnson October 11, 2008 at 3:22 pm


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  • Mark Stosberg October 11, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Small typo in the headline: Should be “Program”, not “Progam”.

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  • wsbob October 12, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Briana, you seem to be a girl in the know about this program. The program does sound like an excellent idea. $65 to get totally set up for the school year with bike transportation seems like an unbeatable deal. The link to the ‘New Bike Loan’ website didn’t seem to work. With the loan, I imagine incidental repairs will be included, correct? And about the $65 refundable fee, if there are some conditions to the refund, what might they be?

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  • Brot October 12, 2008 at 8:46 am

    I think it’s a great idea…but I have to wonder how many of the three bikes I had stolen in Eugene are going to end up in that pile. Man that place was crazy for bike thefts.

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  • Briana October 12, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    Our philosophy at the Outdoor Program and the Bike Loan Program alike is to empower individuals to learn life long skills and essentially teach them how to teach themselves. So we will be giving them guidance on how they can work on their bikes, but at this time we won’t be doing any of that for them.

    The conditions to the refund is that the bike is in decent order when it is returned and that all of the accessories are accounted for.

    wsbob – here’s our website address:


    My email is listed on our website, if you have further inquiries, feel free to contact me.

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  • Peter W October 13, 2008 at 9:46 am

    It would be awesome to set something like that up at PSU.

    However, we probably will have to fix our bike parking crunch first.

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  • wsbob October 13, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Briana, thanks for answering those questions and providing the link to the BLP site. The responsibilities written out there for borrowing a bike seem to be clear and fair.

    Re; locking up the bike, no doubt some people reading here are thinking you’ll be wise to instruct borrowers to run the lock through both the frame and a wheel to a bike rack rather than just through the frame to a bike rack.

    It’s hard to beat the availability of reliable loaner bike for a nominal fee plus access to a well equipped shop to work on it and the the advice of people experienced in repairing bikes nearby to help you out. Sounds like fun!

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  • Coyote October 13, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    grimm & Jonathon, UO has not been U of O for about five years. (check the UO website.)

    No worries about bike parking space at UO, thieves make sure there is always room.

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  • wsbob October 20, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Good, related article in today’s NYtimes:

    With Free Bikes, Challenging Car Culture on Campus NY Times

    The writer seems to have studied quite a number of different schools bike programs…I counted 8 in the article. There isn’t extensive detail about each of the programs, but some interesting remarks are made about their relative success from individuals associated with some of them.

    I’m not sure when I’ll get around to checking, but I’m curious whether some of those other programs have the support staff and shop to help students maintain and thus develop some appreciation for the machines that provide them with an easy, economical, pollution free way to get around.

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  • wsbob October 20, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    Sorry, screwed up on the link…title’s correct and the story is on the papers’s online front page under education.

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