Bike Cart keeps students moving

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Chas Brannon, a sophomore agriculture major, and Anthony Tran, first-year undeclared major, pump up a rear tire on a bike to get a student back on the street and moving. Photo credit: Trevor Ryan

It’s a startling sight to behold, but it’s hard to look away. Two dirt bike tires, a frame the size of a BMX bike, a tube seat, and crazy-high handlebars.

It’s been dubbed the “Frankenstein Bike” by the student workers of the Associated Students Bike Cart program, which offers maintenance, repair service and bike auctions to the campus community.

The Frankenstein bike is created by putting together pieces of other bikes that don’t normally go together.

“My favorite thing is to see the Frankenstein bike because it’s really corny, crazy and gets a lot of attention,” said Curtis Sicheneder, director of the Wildcat Recreation Center and head of the program in charge of the Bike Cart. “It’s safe and functional, but it’s just super out there and really cool.”

The organization also helps students who can’t afford to go out and pay $200 for a bike get one for a lot less, Sicheneder said.

Every year, the Bike Cart puts on an auction and usually sells more than 50 used bikes that have been abandoned on campus. University Police picks them up and then in turn gives them to the A.S.

The prices range from $80 to $100, and the profits from the auction gi into the Get Outdoors Fund, Sicheneder said.

“The Get Outdoors Fund serves as scholarships for Adventure Outings programs and trips and for students who may not be in a position to afford them,” Sicheneder said. “Also, the money that we make through the Bike Cart after we cover our costs gets put into the Get Outdoors Fund as well.”

Another event held by the Bike Cart is called Fix-a-Flat Day, where students and faculty have flat tires fixed for free. This year, it will be held on April 16, and the group partners with the Center for Regional and Continuing Education program to promote the benefits of both organizations.

Tanner Lyon, a senior communication design major and student manager of the Bike Cart, believes that one of the best parts of the work is getting to see people do things that you probably wouldn’t anywhere else, he said.

“One of the craziest things I’ve seen while working at the Bike Cart was a guy that came through one day flying by on his bike while playing an acoustic guitar and singing at the same time,” Lyon said. “It was really impressive.”

In addition to the Bike Cart itself, A.S. also has a warehouse that serves as a storefront where students can take their bikes to. The Bike Storefront is located at Fourth and Cherry streets.

Every day, the cart travels from the storefront to campus and is actually pulled by one of the workers on a bike, Lyon said.

“It gives them (student workers) an opportunity to learn how to work with their hands and the satisfaction that comes from fixing something yourself,” Lyon said. “These are skills that they will have with them and can use in other areas after college.”

Jason Spies can be reached at [email protected] or @Jason_Spies on Twitter.