The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The inaugural winter bike storage program: The sustainability office and MCSG team up to prevent bicycle icicles

Winter is fast approaching in Minnesota. Before too long, we’ll all wake up to find a few feet of snow on the ground and black ice on the street—which makes the Twin Cities, for so much of the year a paradise for bicyclists, less hospitable to those traveling on two wheels.

Though some committed cyclists remain undeterred, it’s tough for most people with bikes to brave the biting winds and poor biking conditions from this point in the year forward. The Nice Ride bikeshare program will shut down starting next week, and many native Minnesotans will likely put their bikes in the back corner of their garage until the thaw comes. Unfortunately, college students (until this year) haven’t had good options for bike storage. Minnesota winters are brutal to our beloved bikes, yet most students have no option but to leave their bikes locked up outside, in inhospitable conditions. Repeated freezing and thawing, continual coats of snow, and constant cold mean that the the longer your bike stays outside during the winter, the more damage it will have in the spring. This means having to replace chains, cables, nuts and bolts, and generally give your bike an overhaul before you can ride it again. Even those who secure spots in the covered and coveted Dupre bike racks aren’t immune from the danger—subzero temperatures, snowdrifts and dampness have a tendency to damage everything they touch.

Bicycles in poor condition are bad news for everyone— students become less likely to ride them the following spring and can’t get around the Twin Cities as easily. According to Terry Gorman in Safety & Security, there has been an increasing number of abandoned bikes at the end of each year (about 50 last spring), often because the bikes were deemed “unrideable” after being left outside all winter. These bikes have to be cut and removed at the college’s expense.

But now, for the first time, students have an opportunity to prevent the pain and price that come with leaving your bike out all winter! The Sustainability Office, in coordination with MCSG, is sponsoring an affordable and convenient Winter Bike Storage Program. Students will be able to store their bikes in a semi trailer that will be taken off-site for the worst of the winter. The bikes will then be returned to campus right before spring break.

Don’t miss your chance to be part of this exciting new program! The cost to participate is only $10, which is a great deal considering the long-term costs of leaving your bike outside during the winter. Plus you’ll avoid having to overhaul your bike in the spring, which could run up to well over $10. However, space is limited to around 50 students, so register as soon as possible. Sign up with the Sustainability Office in the basement of the Campus Center next week on Tuesday the 5th, Thursday the 7th, or Friday the 8th.

Many cyclists choose to bike throughout the winter (you certainly can too!), but most students with bikes don’t end up using them very often during the frigid months and it ends up costing them more to keep it outside than to preserve it for happy spring riding. If you want to avoid having your favorite mode of transportation become a bicycle icicle and instead have one of the 50 most rideable bikes on campus next March, participate in the Winter Bike Storage program!

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