MacBike stresses its own sustainability

By Katie Havranek

MacBike is a small but active student org on the Macalester campus. The group promotes bicycling as an environmentally sustainable mode of transportation as well as an enjoyable activity at Macalester as well as in the Twin Cities area. This small but hard-working organization works to repair bikes, maintain bikes in the MacShare program, and plan bike trips. Though there were rumors of a MacBike space in the new Leonard Center, the group’s activities continue to be somewhat limited due to their cramped working space.

“We’ve been asking to get a permanent space at Mac ever since I was a freshman,” said Dillon Teske, a senior and member of the MacBike.

The group appealed for new space in the new athletic building, the Leonard Center, but once Health Services was given space, the group was told there was no room, Teske said.

“A new space would definitely help expand MacBike,” explained Charlotte Fagan, another member of MacBike. “It’s hard to fix bikes in a closet.”

MacBike is currently run in the basement of 30Mac in a room right off of the Mac Weekly office.

In the Spring of 2007 MacBike was given space in the basement of GDD and was able to teach a couple of EXCO classes as well as store the bikes from a bike drive that was aimed at raising money for Sibley Bike Depot, a non-profit group in St. Paul that works with MacBike often.

Since the fundraiser was so successful, MacBike would like to do the event again, but Teske said that they are again limited by their space.

“We would have nowhere to put the bikes if we received as many as they did the last time,” he said.

MacBike is planning to meet with the administration to ask for more space in the future. Teske pointed out that giving student org their own space is not unheard of at the college, specifically citing the Mac Weekly office and the WMCN studio.

“I think we need to prove that we are a sustainable club, especially since the people in the club are so transitional,” Teske said. “The administration is weary of giving us permanent space.”

Nonetheless, Teske said that the administration has been good to MacBike and he feels that they appreciate the group.

“The group has a lot of different aspects- environmental, service, and athletic,” Teske said.

MacBike currently has Open Shop from 6-8pm on Thursday nights that are open to everyone. Students can come in with their bikes and either fix their own bike, or fix it with the help of a MacBike member. Tools are provided, and, while students cannot simply leave their bikes, they can be instructed on how to fix their bikes and work with any of the qualified group members.

Meetings are held after Open Shop until about 9 PM and are also open to everyone. Students choose a new leader every week and anyone can send out emails to the group.

This year, MacBike has led trips to the farmer’s market as well as a ride with the Sierra Club. The group also organized a parking day that took over two parking spaces in the Patagonia lot.

The group hopes to plan more rides, including a scavenger-hunt like alley cat race in coalition with BEAST, the biking club at St Thomas. MacBike also hopes to work with the administration to get more bike parking and wants to disseminate bike safety information.

“MacBike caters to anyone who owns a bike,” says Teske, “Having a bike shop on campus is a really great thing. Not all schools have one.