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Aggie Blue Bikes to Sell Beach Cruisers

Thursday, Apr. 11, 2013

workers at Aggie Blue Bikes

Freshman Kori Williamson fixes her bike at the Aggie Blue Bikes shop last semester. Statesman file photo (From the Utah Statesman Online)

The Student Life section of Utah State Today highlights work written by the talented student journalists at Utah State University. Each week, the editor selects a story that has been published in The Utah Statesman or the Hard News Café or both for inclusion in Utah State Today.

Aggie Blue Bikes to Sell Beach Cruisers

By Tavin Stucki, news editor, in The Utah Statesman, Thursday, April 11, 2013

Students looking for a reliable and inexpensive way to get around town will have a new place to look Thursday at the Aggie Blue Bikes sale.

Dave Griffin, an Aggie Blue Bikes shop manager, said the shop has sold one or two bikes here and there, but Thursday’s sale will be the first time a larger-scale sale will be put on.

“The bikes we’re selling are old bikes people have donated,” Griffin said. “Our whole aim is to get people on bikes more often.”

Stephanie Tomlin, program coordinator for the student sustainability office and Aggie Blue Bikes, said about 40 bicycles at Thursday’s sale will be “project bikes” that buyers will have to fix before they will be suitable for use.

“They will need work,” she said. “There’s no ifs, ands, buts. They definitely need work, but for $35 you could get a decent bike that if you put in an additional $40 into, you’ll have a bike that will last you infinitely longer than if you just go buy a new bike.”

In addition to the project bikes for sale, Aggie Blue Bikes will put six beach cruisers on the market — ones that have previously been available to students for one-day checkouts.

“We’ve got so many we can’t turn them all into blue bikes,” Griffin said.

Griffin said Thursday’s sale won’t detract from the quantity of bicycles available for student checkout, even though Aggie Blue Bikes has seen a sharp increase in the number of bikes stolen from the program in recent months.

In 2012, Griffin said there were 11 Aggie Blue Bikes reported stolen. Three have been stolen in 2013.

Sgt. Travis Dunn of the USU Police Department said between 55 bicycles were reported stolen campus wide in 2012 and 60 in 2011, though these weren’t necessarily from Aggie Blue Bikes.

Because of the thefts, Aggie Blue Bikes has implemented a new bicycle lock policy. Since mid-February, renters have been required to use a U-lock or cable lock at least 10 millimeters in diameter to secure their bicycle.

“No one with a U-lock has gotten a bike stolen,” Griffin said. “U-locks are pretty hard to circumnavigate.”

“The bike was either left for a long period of time — around two weeks — or not locked properly,” Griffin said of the bikes stolen. “Many times the bike would be gone and the chain left still locked on the rack.”

It may be too early to tell if the new policy is working to deter theft because it has been in effect for a short time. Either way, buyers at Thursday’s sale are encouraged to secure their new bicycles properly.

Griffin said shoppers shouldn’t worry about purchasing a low-quality bicycle that won’t ever be good enough to ride. He said if the shop had the room and the manpower, Aggie Blue Bikes employees would flip the bicycles and rent them out to students.

“We’re understaffed,” he said, adding he is happy for the amount of volunteer help the shop receives. “Basically what it comes down to is space is at a premium on this part of campus.”

Money is the biggest factor because the shop is provided to Aggie Blue Bikes at no cost known, Tomlin said. Taking on an additional employee would cost the program upwards of $5,000.

“We’ve just been there for long enough now,” Tomlin said. “I guess you could say we just got grandfathered in.”

Bicycle prices will vary depending on the quality of the bike and what parts are already in working order.

Tomlin said the beach cruisers will be sold for $120 each and the project bikes will be priced anywhere between $20-$200, but most commonly around $40.

“The bikes that we have are ones that will last you,” Tomlin said. “They are made to last.”

The sale will last from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during normal business hours at the Aggie Blue Bike shop in between the Fieldhouse and Aggie Terrace parking garage.

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