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Bike repairs made easy

1/18/13

Mem­bers of Northeastern’s cycling com­mu­nity now have a ded­i­cated loca­tion to per­form every-​​day fix-​​its on low tires, loose chains, and other med­dle­some problems.

On Monday, Facil­i­ties staff installed a self-​​service bike-​​repair stand under­neath the archway near the north tower of West Vil­lage A. The Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment Asso­ci­a­tion’s Renew­able Energy Ini­tia­tives Board pur­chased the stand with money from the Renew­able Energy Fund, to which stu­dents vol­un­tarily contribute.

“We’re very excited about this,” said Mary Cor­rado, SGA’s assis­tant vice pres­i­dent for stu­dent ser­vices and chair of the Renew­able Energy Ini­tia­tives Board who spear­headed the effort. “This is a low-​​cost way to empower bicy­clists and encourage a sus­tain­able form of trans­porta­tion to and from campus.”

The four-​​foot-​​tall repair stand accom­mo­dates one bicycle at a time, and boasts tools to per­form everyday fix-​​its and a pump to fill tires with air. A QR code on the front of the stand allows smart­phone users to access main­te­nance instruc­tions. SGA pur­chased the unit from the Minnesota-​​based DERO Bike Rack Co., which sells a range of com­mer­cial bike racks and main­te­nance stands.

Last year, SGA mem­bers sought input from the Uni­ver­sity of Oregon, the Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nology, and Har­vard Uni­ver­sity, all of which have installed sim­ilar bike repair sta­tions. SGA will now eval­uate the stand’s usage and seek user feed­back through the spring and summer before exploring the poten­tial for addi­tional units at other campus locations.

Alex Scott, an alumnus who grad­u­ated in December and the out­going pres­i­dent of the NU Cycling club, hailed the idea of bringing a bike-​​maintenance stand to North­eastern. Scott noted that Boston has become more bike friendly over the last five years, citing the city’s invest­ment in bike lanes and the estab­lish­ment of a bike-​​sharing pro­gram, Hubway. As a result, he’s noticed an increase in cyclists on campus.

The club wel­comes cyclists of all abil­i­ties, Scott said, and activ­i­ties range from com­peting in races to dis­cussing the latest news in Boston’s bicy­cling scene. He said the club has col­lab­o­rated with res­i­dence halls to run bike main­te­nance sem­i­nars, and now is in talks with SGA mem­bers about orga­nizing sim­ilar work­shops for the North­eastern com­mu­nity at large.

“What it comes down to is this: if you buy a bike but don’t know how to main­tain it, you’re less likely to ride it,” Scott said. “People don’t realize how simple some bike main­te­nance can be until they know how to do it.”

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