Carroll bike group provides opportunity, information to Waukesha community
Last fall, Carroll University in Waukesha implemented a plan to limit the number of automobiles first-year student-residents could park on campus. The reasons behind this limitation included growing parking concerns on campus in addition to increasing the awareness of alternative transportation among campus residents.
Because of the automobile restriction, two years ago Carroll administrators started the Bike Advisory Task Force to promote bike awareness on campus and in the Waukesha community.
On the task force were members of the City of Waukesha's parks and engineering departments as well as university members of the Carroll Outdoor Recreation and Outdoor Education program (Core).
Adam Schinker was also on the bike task force. A member of the Waukesha Bicycle Alliance and a second-year business major at Carroll University, Schinker is now Core's bike mechanic.
"Everything in Waukesha is within a three-mile radius, you can get everywhere in 15-20 minutes by bike," says Schinker, who worked at Wheel and Sprocket, 13925 W. Capitol Dr., for six years before attending Carroll.
Through the work of the task force, Carroll's Core program founded a campus bike shop and bicycle rental program and instituted plans to increase bicycle transportation awareness among campus community members.
Later today, Wednesday, April 4, there is an open house at the campus "Bike Shop" which concludes with a short bike ride led by Carroll president Doug Hastad. And later, from 7 p.m to 8:30 p.m. in the university's Shattuck Music Center, Scott Stoll will be giving a talk called "Falling Uphill." The talk will be about how Waukesha native Stoll spent four years riding his bicycle around the world.
The Bike Shop is in the former garage of a house turned into the home of Carroll's mathematics department, 202 W. College Ave.
The bike rental program starts next week. Bike rental fees are $1.50 a day and $7 for seven days. All rentals include a bike helmet and lock.
The Bike Shop and the rental program are available through the summer.
The shop also offers bike tune-ups at $10 for students and $30 for staff, faculty and alumni. Schinker, a work study employee of the university, charges very small fees for other repairs, such as tire changes.
The program offers "social" bike rides every Monday beginning at 4:30 p.m. Interested bicyclists meet at the Bike Shop. Schinker says all are welcome on the social rides and participants determine where the group will bike to.
Core received several bikes from Inland Seas School of Expeditionary Learning, which was a UW-Milwaukee-chartered school that closed at the end of the 2010 school year. Individual donors also gave bikes and parts to the program to get it started. The hope is, through continued donations, that participants in the program will rebuild bikes to use in the rental program and even be able to sell a few at low cost.
Carroll's campus-wide theme next year is "energy" (Carroll's theme this year is "water") and Core plans to have a number of bike-related events to suit the theme, perhaps borrowing Urban Ecology Center's bike generator which demonstrates the capacity to power various electronics with people power.
Core's events are planned by Dan Gray, who has been its coordinator for two years. Before working at Carroll, Gray led outdoor trips at Urban Ecology Center. He says biking has become a bigger component to the job than when he started, when his goal was to develop more outdoor adventure trips, such as the canoe excursion for graduating seniors.
Gray is an avid bicyclist who frequently commutes to work via bike on the New Berlin Trail with Carroll chaplain Bill Humphreys.
In the short-term, Core is looking for incoming students with skills that could help the bike program grow. Schinker is also willing to train other members of the student population to be bike mechanics.
Long-term, Gray says Carroll is working toward earning a "bicycle friendly university" designation from the League of American Bicyclists. The league reviews applications twice a year, and Gray has been making sure that everything is in order for Carroll to submit one the next time around.
"We'll be working to create a safer, more inviting bike environment, increase the numbers on organized social rides, offer some overnight rides and generally see more cycling on campus. We'll help nurture that any way we can," says Gray.
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