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New Bike-Sharing Program to Start Fall Semester

Taking sustainability to the streets, Pomona College is unveiling a new bike-sharing program that will build on our already strong on-campus bike culture. The new program will let students borrow state-of-the-art folding bicycles, creating endless travel possibilities for exploring Los Angeles via train and bike, or for just taking a ride around the Campus.

“One of the things that the college is trying to do is raise awareness about the impact of our actions,” said Sustainability Coordinator Bowen Patterson ’06. “Promoting bike use is important, and this is another good opportunity for the college to diversify options for students.”

The bikes fold in half in a matter of seconds and, while folded, weigh less than 25 pounds and measure in at just over two-feet-by-two-feet, making them perfect for commutes on busy city buses and Metrolink trains. Program organizers hope the bikes will help broaden transportation options for students participating in the popular Pomona College Internship Progam, which places students in offices across Southern California. Folding bikes in hand, students will now be able to take public transportation into Los Angeles and bike to work at offices previously too far to access on foot. And, with the recent opening of new grocery stores, shops and the movie theater in Claremont, the bikes can also help more students get off Campus and into the community.

“Biking seems like a natural choice,” Patterson said. “It’s low cost, and there are so many activities and resources that are within a reasonable biking distance.”

The brainchild of Spencer Honeyman ’08, the bike-sharing program got its start last spring when the then-senior brought folding bikes to the attention of the President’s Action Committee on Sustainability, an organization dedicated to promoting green issues on campus. The Committee, which manages an annual fund of $15,000 for infrastructure-based programs, helped Honeyman get the project off the ground.

“This was a good opportunity to let people know about folding bikes,” said committee member Chelsea Hodge ’09. “It gives students the opportunity to try them out. It’s the experience that will be important.”

Pomona forged a relationship with Dahon, a Duarte, CA-based folding-bike manufacturer. After sending a senior executive to meet with the Committee last spring, Dahon agreed to donate three bikes and six magnet-powered safety lights to the College.

“Dahon got really excited about it,” said Associate Dean of Student Neil Gerard, who is overseeing the project. “I think it’s a good idea for a whole lot of reasons. It’s healthier to ride a bike than a car for everybody.”

The details of the bike-sharing program—where the bikes will be stored and how students will check them out—are still in the works, but should be settled by the time students return to Campus for the fall semester.—Travis Kaya ‘10