Green Bike Program Shifting Gears and Gaining Momentum

By Liz Lion '12, Staff Writer

This semester, Scripps’s Green Bike Program (GBP) opened its garage doors for the first time. Since its inaugural SAS Snack a few weeks ago, the bike shop is seeing an average of three to five students every shift. In line with their goals of empowering Scripps students while providing an eco-friendly and sustainable method of transportation, the bike program offers basic maintenance on bikes and instructs students on how to care for their own bikes.“We teach workshops so you can be an empowered woman,” said Bike Manager Kristen Piepgrass (’12). “The goal is very ‘do it yourself.’”

The GBP, located in southwest side of the Scripps parking garage just below the Tiernan Field House, has weekly workshops and open hours. During open hours, which happen four days a week, students can drop by and learn about proper bike maintenance. Past workshops’ topics have been wheel truing and hub overhaul. The workshop staff and volunteers are interested in what students want to learn, and said they will tailor future workshops to fit all students’ needs, interests and skill levels.

In addition to promoting Scripps students’ self- sufficiency, the GBP also promotes a bike community and culture on campus. Bike Tech Asia Morris (’12) sponsors a weekly Ladies’ Ride in Claremont Wednesday evenings. The rides introduce cyclists to a moderate, 10- 15 mile ride through Claremont.

The GBP also serves as a launch pad for exploring the bike community around the five colleges, and can direct students to other places which promote bike culture, such as community rides in Claremont and bike polo at Pitzer. Future GBP events are also being planned.

True to its name, the Green Bike Program promotes sustainability. This sustainability involves more thanthe reduction of emissions inherent in bicycles as an alternative to motor vehicles. Instead of buying new bikes, the program rehabilitates old and abandoned bikes. Some students purchase bikes as first-years, and four years later, not knowing what to do with the bikes as they’re packing and leaving Scripps, abandon them. Maintenance has to wait a certain amount of time before they can confiscate these bikes; in the meantime, the bikes can get rusty. Taking these bikes, the GBP repairs them and puts them back into students’ use. The rehabilitation extends the life of the bike from four years to around 10 to 15 years. Currently, the GBP has 40 bikes for semester-use and 30 for day-use, with another 20 being repaired for semester- use. There are bikes for all purposes, including mountain bikes and bikes with baskets for grocery shopping.

“When I was a first-year, I had to go to the other colleges, to Claremont, to find a bike culture,” said Piepgrass. “In the four years I’ve been here, there has been huge improvement in what attention has been given to biking on Scripps.

We’re gaining momentum right here on campus.” To keep up that momentum, the program will accept bike donations at the end of the semester. The GBP is open Tuesday and Thursday from 6-9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11-3 p.m.