After folding last August due to thefts, City Cycles will be reinstated this spring with the support of Students’ Association funding.
“We hope to launch the program in time for spring, and we expect that the student body will receive it very well,” Students’ Association Senator, Projects and Services Committee member and sophomore Mike Furlani said.
City Cycles was originally introduced in Spring 2005. The free, student-run program provided a unique service: anyone presenting a valid UR ID at the Central Issue in the Goergen Athletic Center could take out one of 15 bicycles in Dandelion Square to use until 4 p.m. the following day.
Co-sponsored by Grassroots and the Cycling and Outing Clubs, City Cycles has primarily been coordinated by seniors Adam Baratz and Andrew Hall for the past three years.
The program offered a number of benefits and opportunities to entice student interest. Along with the bike, students were provided with amenities such as a helmet, bell or lock. Weekly bike rides on Sundays also encouraged student participation.
“Before I got my own bicycle, I used those provided by City Cycles,” senior Kenny Lotito said. “More importantly, the program showed me how suitable Rochester is for using a bike and convinced me to invest in my own.”
As City Cycles is re-established at UR, several administrative changes are taking place. Since Baratz and Hall are both graduating, they have handed the program over to the University. To handle bicycle maintenance, a Towpath Bike Shop professional mechanic will be available once a week at the University.
Hall feels the decision to have City Cycles administered by UR best ensures the program’s sustainability.
“I think the evolution from pilot program to transfer of ownership has been very logical and very smooth,” Hall said.
Rochester Center Community Leadership Assistant Director for Operations Bryan Rotach is confident with this new direction.
“The students who worked to develop, maintain and restart the program should be commended for their dedication,” Rotach said.
The primary concern with City Cycles is security as the program was halted following a slew of thefts that continued despite efforts to thwart them. New precautionary tactics will be initiated to prevent thievery.
“We will be working closely with Security to implement new measures,” Furlani said. “All of the bikes will be the same model and make so they will be more recognizable. They will also be identified by an engraved ID tag.” Furlani noted that some of the thefts may have resulted from using the provided locks incorrectly. In the future, students will be shown how to use the locks properly before taking out a bicycle.
Programs such as City Cycles are rare on college campuses. Hall hopes that the program will serve as a model for other universities.
“From what I can see,” Hall said, “I think City Cycles is the premier program of its kind in the country.”
Squires is a member of the class of 2010.