Left on West Main, past Wendy’s, and come to a complete stop at the light of course (wink wink). Right on S Greensboro, past Open Eye, left on Roberson St and then jump on the bike path. Cross the train tracks, and WATCH OUT for the glass! Damn, I hit it. Am I going to have a flat? It seems like it is ok… Nope, it isn’t. FLAT. That’s cool, I will only be a little late, and I can just take it to the campus bike shop after class to change my tube……Wait, we don’t have a campus bike shop! Hmmmmmm.
Every day I ride my bike to school, and I am joined by a multitude of other commuters on bikes. By the time we are nearing campus it is as though we are following the music of the Pied Piper towards some unknown destination. It is awesome! Bike commuting is a great way to incorporate exercise into your everyday routine, a healthy alternative to driving, and cheaper than buying gas. The Chapel Hill/Carrboro community has tons of bike commuters, many of them UNC students, faculty, and staff. Chapel Hill was designated a “Bicycle Friendly Community” by the League of American Bicyclists in 2011, and Currently UNC is trying to become a “Bicycle Friendly University,” according to the UNC Bicycle Master Plan website. So, in a very bike friendly community at one of the leading public health universities in the country, there is no campus bike shop. Why is this? A spokesperson for Campus Rec noted “the campus bike shop has been proposed by students before, but nothing has happened.”
What’s up Carolina? Is there any interest out there for a campus bike shop? When I volunteered at Cyclicious, there was a line all day long for tune-ups, which leads me to believe that the demand is there for a bike shop right on campus, and the people to run that shop are right here as well! I have seen all you of you who are trying to hide right now. I see you, you spandex clad, shaved legged roadies (of which I am one). I see you, you skinny jean, tattooed, hipster, fixie folks. I see you, you 8 inch travel downhill guys. I see you, you hard core commuter, anti-car, pannier-laden environmentalists. Why don’t we have a campus shop? We don’t because people have not organized to make it happen. Let’s do it! If UNC Asheville can have a campus bike shop, then so can we. I believe it is a matter of us all coming together to get it done.
And this is the great thing about bikes: they come in all shapes and sizes for all different types of interests and yet all of us who ride them share a passion for biking because it’s awesome, healthy, environmentally friendly, and fun. We believe in riding bikes and want to be at a University that embraces and supports the already large community of bikers who benefit from the riding around the Chapel-Hill Carrboro area. I know that all the different groups may have their issues with one another, but I think we also can all agree that all of us would benefit from a well-run, free or cheap, shop on campus. A place where we would not feel judged for not knowing anything about bikes and a place where we could learn how to work on our own bike.
According to the Campus Rec spokesperson, “anything is possible, especially when students are excited about the idea.” I am excited, and I am willing to believe that I am not the only person at Carolina who is excited. Let’s make it happen! One place to start could be at the UNC Bicycle Master Plan Public Information Meeting on Wednesday, October 23rd at the Student Union, room 3206 from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm.
In the meantime or for those looking for an alternative, some great, local shops to frequent are:
Back Alley Bikes
The Bicycle Chain