Bike App plans to create Bike Center on campus


The Appalachian Online

Madison Barlow

When freshman psychology major Kaitlyn Poole began biking around campus, she was surprised at how mobile she was.

“It’s actually easier than one would think to maneuver campus on a bike,” she said. “I bike to classes and around town. Besides the environmental benefits, biking is a cheaper, easier alternative to a car.”

For students like Poole, who rely on a bike as their sole transportation method, biking on campus has become much more convenient. Appalachian State University’s Renewable Energy Initiative has partnered with the Outdoor Programs departments’ Bike App initiative to further fund bike repair stations around campus.

Liz Julian, graduate assistant at Outdoor Programs, said there are currently two bike repair stations and three bike pumps on campus.

“There is a bike repair station at Lovill Hall near Sanford Mall, and another one at Frank Hall behind Duck Pond,” Julian said. “There are also bike pumps at those locations, and another one on Sanford Mall, in front of Anne Belk Hall.”

Julian said the Bike App initiative was first informally started in the 2014 spring semester after a proposal to Student Development.

“While they loved the idea, they wanted us to collect data that showed an actual need for the stations, statistically speaking,” she said.

After meeting with Student Development, Julian and the Outdoor Programs team proposed a project to ASUREI.

Junior physics major, and secretary for ASUREI Scott Williams said the proposal was passed with a two-thirds vote by the organization’s committee members.

“We like to collaborate with as many different organizations with similar goals as we can,” Williams said. “The Outdoor Program had a really great, well thought-out pitch and their project proposal shared multiple common goals of our initiative. We thought it was a great idea.”

Since the proposal passed, the Bike App initiative has received about $7,700 in grants from ASUREI.

“The money from the REI grants go toward the whole process of purchasing, planning and installing the bike pumps and repair stations,” Julian said. “With the grant money that we got from REI this past November, we plan to install four to five more bike repair stations. We have already had several meetings about the new stations, but don’t have any designated locations as of right now.”

Julian said the Bike App initiative team has several short-term and long-term goals for the project and organization.

“For the short term, we’re really going to focus on increasing programming and promotion around campus,” she said. “We also are going to be involved with Earth Week. For the long term, we want to focus on data collection and increasing awareness on campus so that we can eventually re-submit our proposal of a Bike Center on campus to Student Development.”

Julian believes biking is a good alternative transportation and if students were informed on how to properly take care of bikes and how to bike safely, then it would greatly benefit Appalachian’s outdoor focused community.

“If students were provided with the necessary tools to properly take care of a bike, and were educated on the benefits of biking, I think they would love biking just like I did,” she said. “That’s what the Bike App initiative is all about.”

Story: Madison Barlow, Intern News Reporter