MacBike hopes to escape from basement

By Sarah O’Connor

MacBike is currently located in a closet off The Mac Weekly office in the basement of 30Mac. The group was given temporary use of a basement room in George Draper Dayton Hall for a semester five years ago but, due to limited space on campus for clubs, their operations returned to the closet. MacBike continues to advocate for a more larger and more convenient location to repair bicycles and plan bike adventures.MacBike was founded in the late eighties but became a more active student organization in 2003, and in 2005 the BikeShare program was established. Since then, MacBike has been soliciting the school for more space to run their operations. Their cramped headquarters impairs their efficiency, according to BikeShare coordinator Ainsley Judge ’11.

“Our shop is narrow and small and is filled to the brim with broken bikes eager for repair, spare tires, wheels, handlebars, and cranksets.” Judge said. “Our tools and parts are as organized as possible, but because of the amount of bikes and parts we have stored in there, it is impossible to both store things and be in there to fix them. It doesn’t function as a work space, rather as a storage space.”

In 2005, during their occupation of the basement room of GDD, MacBike ran two EXCO classes, one on women, feminism and bikes and the other on basic bicycle mechanics. Judge points to the large number of Macalester students who attend bike maintenance classes at the Sibley Bicycle Depot as evidence of the large demand for the resources they offer.

“If we could expand, these classes, other services and open shops would be held for all students, faculty and staff,” Judge said.

This year, MacBike is cautiously optimistic about moving to the Doty basement this year. This would be a great improvement because it would address the two major grievances with the closet-space and access. As Judge pointed out, “Right now it is very difficult to lug a bike down a staircase and through 4 doors, requiring a d-key card access and two other keys.