The bike co-op is not a traditional bike co-op. While a typical co-op involves more knowledgeable members teaching less experienced members how to maintain bicycles that they have bought themselves, the Mount Allison version is more appropriately described as a bike-sharing program.
Because the bike co-op is funded by the Mount Allison Students’ Union, all Mt. A students are entitled to borrow a bicycle.
Graham Muise, a fourth-year science student and the Bike Co-op Coordinator said, “It’s really convenient if you have errands you want to run around town, or even if you want to bike for exercise.”
A shed behind the Athletic Centre holds ten bicycles, available for short-term loan to any student interested.
Ian Smith, MASU Vice President, External Affairs said “our main priority at the moment is figuring out where exactly we’re going to be running it from.” The shed is a currently a temporary measure, and the MASU is hoping to find a more suitable home for the co-op.
The student union received a grant from Renaissance Sackville to purchase five new bikes, which were bought at a discount from Consolvo Bikes in Moncton. Five used bikes were privately donated.
MASU also received a $1,500 grant from MEC to cover expenses such as helmets, locks, a repair kit and a bike hoist.
Muise says they are certainly considering expanding the program if they find the co-op is well-used.
The new bikes are hybrid style Norcos, which combine aspects of touring bikes, road bikes, and mountain bikes. The used bikes are a mix of styles and colours. Not all the used bikes are road worthy and repairing them is not a priority of the MASU at this time.
Both bike co-operatives and bike-sharing programs have grown in popularity in recent years, on and off university campuses. Bike-sharing programs are well-suited to campuses, as many students live without room for bicycle storage, and many cannot afford to purchase bikes at all.
Borrowing a bicycle is quite simple: go to the students’ union office, located on the first floor of the Wallace McCain Student Centre, and ask to borrow a bike. After signing a waiver and placing a twenty dollar damage deposit, students receive a key to the shed and can take the bike of their choice.
On returning the bike and the keys, members will have their deposit returned, so long as the bike is undamaged.