After wave of thefts, MacBike to subsidize bike locks

By Peter Wright

MacBike will offer subsidized bike locks next semester that should be safer for students leaving their bikes in outdoor racks around campus. Now that the snowy season has settled in, many students have locked their bikes for the season around campus.MacBike, an organization dedicated to maintaining and promoting the use of bicycles, will offer U-locks to Macalester students at a reduced cost starting some time after winter vacation, according to Sandy Robson ’08, one of the leaders of the MacBike organization.

Macalester College Student Government has sudsidized the locks by providing MacBike with $802.50 from the capital fund project. MacBike is expected to repay $500.00 of the grant.

About a dozen bicycles have been stolen on campus this semester, according to Terry Gorman, assistant director of Facilities Management. The number of thefts this semester may be slightly higher, but not alarmingly so, he said.

The increase in thefts may be due to the fact that someone has figured out how to cut the locks quickly and inconspicuously, according to Gorman.

Robson said she remembers bikes being stolen since her first year at Macalester, but more bikes have been stolen this semester than in the past.

“I’d say it’s a chronic problem,” she said.

Many students have been using chain or cable locks rather than U-locks. The chain locks can be cut easily with a set of wire cutters, which have been used in many of the incidents this semester. U-locks are primarily made of a reinforced metal ring in a “U” shape, and don’t seem to be as susceptible to thefts.

“I think [U-locks] are better locks,” Gorman said. “They seem to be a little sturdier.”

Bike racks and meeting space have also been issues for MacBike this semester, and the organizations’ members will discuss these matters with Gorman on Dec. 20 in the Campus Center, Robson said.

MacBike is currently based out of a small space in the basement of 30 Mac, and as the group accumulates more bikes, it has begun to grow out of its space, Robson said. Robson also said she hoped to see the group move into a space that is more accessible to the outdoors, rather than behind several sets of doors.