FSU Sustainable Campus debuts new mobile bike trailer

reCycle Bike Mobile Trailer

Students who have stopped by the Integration Statue recently may have seen the newest addition to the Florida State University reCycle Bike program: a mobile bike repair trailer. This trailer will serve as a way to help students with basic bike repairs, such as balancing tires, oiling chains, adjusting bolts and adding more air to the tires.

The FSU reCycle Bike program was established as a program under FSU Sustainable Campus and provides bikes to students on campus either semesterly or yearly. Students pay to use a bike that the program retains and recycles to be used by other students the next year.

Beyond providing bikes, the reCycle Bike program aims to teach basic bike safety and maintenance through events held throughout the year. It also provides community to student cyclists through monthly group bike rides.

The reCycle Bike mobile bike trailer was first proposed in fall 2017 while Rob Lytle served as the reCycle Bike Program director. Fernando Ritzinger, former director of another FSU Sustainable Campus program Garnet & Gold Goes Green, previously worked with Inter-Residence Hall Council through his position and was made aware of numerous funding opportunities available through the Student Government Association.

In the spring, the reCycle Bike coordinator at the time, Alberto De Los Rios, continued this project. He began by researching how cyclists were supported on other college campuses and in other municipalities and came across the idea of a mobile bike trailer and the way it can be used to serve as an education tool.

“As a cyclist, both on and off campus, I have gotten to hear some of the common needs and preferences of student cyclists and the need for reliable and quick bicycle resources on campus,” said De Los Rios. “Most of the repair stations are in a constant state of malfunction and students often lack the knowledge to self-identify many of the issues that could potentially be affecting their bicycles.”

Together, De Los Rios, his co-worker Ritzinger and FSU Sustainable Campus program coordinator Jamie Valentine created a proposal. Through a group effort, the project secured funding from FSU Sustainable Campus, FSU SGA Student Senate and the Office of Student Sustainability.

Rachel Glanton, student senator and liaison to Office of Student Sustainability (OSS), entered student senate with a passion for sustainability and was excited for the opportunity to make a difference on campus. Working with OSS and De Los Rios, she created multiple bills to provide funding for the project.

Some of the money was provided through a transfer request bill that allowed money from the OSS budget to be moved to the reCycle Bike program. Another bill provided funding for the project from the Student Senate discretionary fund called Senate Projects.

“Commuting by the bus or walking are pretty straight forward actions but, commuting by bike requires a bit more work like bike safety and bike mechanics,” Glanton said. “The mobile bike trailer provides a convenient resource for students to ask questions to a knowledgeable person as well as getting those chains realigned.”

After months of construction, the first mobile bike repair station was held on Oct. 30 at the Integration Statue. This new resource was quickly positively received by students.

“For me, I was just tightening up some bolts and refilling some tires, but for many of them [the students], it changed how comfortably they commute around campus, which made them extremely happy,” reCycle Bike Coordinator Julio Mata said. “I was surprised at how excited they were to have their bikes serviced.”

Currently, there are plans for the reCycle Bike mobile bike trailer to serve students on campus at least bi-weekly. As student needs are brought to the attention of the program, the frequency of the repair events will be adjusted and programming around bike safety may be included.