They may be pink, but these trusty transporters demand some respect.
With handlebars securely welded, seats chained and frames beckoning “Respect the Ride,” the hardy fleet of 200 new bicycles is more than ready to take on the third year of the Oakland University Bike Share Program.
The bike-sharing program has come a long way in the past two years. Starting out as a handful of donations, the group of bikes once varied in size, style and functioning capabilities.
Brett McIsaac, OUSC Student Services Director and co-founder of Bike Share, recalled the inaugural ride in which the brakes of the history-making vehicle failed to
function in a very critical moment.
Luckily, he emerged unscathed.
Shortly thereafter, coordinators found that the structure of the bikes were no match for the poor treatment by students. In addition, the variety of models made repairs both time-consuming and expensive.
In the years that passed, the program found a way to save both time and money. They purchased uniform bicycles directly from the manufacturer and moved assembly to Hannah Hall’s machine shop.
In doing so, they are able to make needed adjustments and any repairs on their own.
Regardless of the efforts Bike Share has made to deter destructive riders, McIsaac believes that a great deal of responsibility lies with the student. He simply asks that they “have respect.”
“One of our biggest challenges has been the abuse of the bikes,” Greg Jordan, director of campus recreation.
These bikes have had a history of misuse, whether that means accompanying a long-distance traveler to the outskirts of Auburn Hills or being the victim of Evel Knievel-type stunts.
Students have reported seeing them in a variety of places: on hills, inside buildings, resting on hammocks and in nearby
Senior Chase Cooper, having found a fair share of bikes lying around Rochester, agreed that students could be irresponsible.
Cooper has participated in Bike Share since its very beginning and pointed out the improvement of the program.
“It seems this year has been the best so far,” Cooper said.
McIsaac and Jordan agreed that with each year, they have seen significant advancements in the overall treatment of the bikes.
“This morning I saw a lady put a bike in the bike rack by P-26 … it made me smile a little bit,” McIsaac said.
Jordan said that greater communication online through Facebook and e-mail has contributed positively to create increased awareness and appreciation for the program.
Bike Share coordinated this year’s orientation group leaders to inform incoming freshman, like Kristie Barr and to encourage them to “Respect the Ride.”
Barr is one of many who had difficulty describing any “cons” she saw with bikes. She found program very useful.
Nica Clark said the only negative thing she could think of was losing the bike she originally rode to class.
“The sharing part doesn’t sit well with me,” she said.
McIsaac attributed the program’s success to maintaining its status as “trust program.”
“Keeping it free instills pride in the students,” McIsaac said, noting that the honor system idea brings students together and promotes ownership.
Bike Share is continuing to encourage students to help preserve the availability and quality of the bikes.
Additionally, signs will soon be placed at campus exits and entrances, informing riders that taking a bike off campus is against policy.
The Rec Center has set up a system for students to report broken bikes quickly and easily by texting email@example.com.
McIsaac said it is important for students to report a bike and not to ride it.
Riding one could damage it further and perhaps even bring its life in the program to an
For a list of Bike Share rules and bike rack locations, visit