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U of C bike share program gets rolling

By Fabian Mayer, February 2 2016 — 

The University of Calgary is about to get its own bike share program. The student initiative recently received funding and hopes to be running by the end of February, allowing students to rent bikes on campus for a small fee.

Fourth-year geography student Gavin Schneider is the president of the club behind the U of C’s bike share. Schneider said the idea started out as a class project last year and grew from there.

“Right now there’s a big push to make cities as livable as possible,” Schneider said. “This is something that a lot of students are getting interested in and it’s just another piece of that sustainability puzzle.”

The club received a $9,433 grant from the Students’ Union sustainability fund in December. The group purchased eight bikes that will be available to rent from the Sustainability Resource Centre for around $10 a week. Students will also need to purchase a yearly $10 club membership. Schneider anticipates a lot of interest in the program.

“If you rent it from the Outdoor Centre, it’s $35 a day. It’s very reasonable,” he said.

Students that volunteer with the program receive a free membership.

Schneider, who rides his bike to university every day, wasn’t concerned about the potential deterrent of Calgary’s cold climate during most of the school year.

“It’s the end of January right now and there’s no snow,” he said. “On weeks like this, people could definitely be riding.”

The club is partnering with Bike Route, the U of C’s community bike shop, to maintain the bikes. They also submitted a Quality Money grant that, if successful, could see the program expand to around 40 bikes by September of next year.

“Bike riding is great. I think more people need to have that option.”

Students’ Union vice-president operations and finance Sarah Pousette heads the committee that approved the funding. She said the sustainability fund is meant to help students follow through on their ideas to make the U of C more sustainable.

“We really felt like this project was a great opportunity to provide people with a chance to try something new,” Pousette said. “It really is awesome because it fits with the idea of creating an affordable opportunity for students who can’t afford their own bike.”

When asked about what the club hoped to accomplish, Schneider was succinct.

“To show that Calgary is a bike friendly city,” Schneider said.

The SU accepts sustainability fund applications throughout the year, though the official deadline is Feb. 15.

This article originally claimed that it would cost $10 a day to rent a bike. The correct price is $10 a week. The Gauntlet apologizes to our readers for this error. 

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