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K-Bike program provides bikes to international students

K-Bike program provides bikes to international students

By Staff

What do you do when shipping a bike to Kenyon is more expensive than the bike itself? For international students, this is a real problem, and the K-Bike program can help.

“The K-Bike program provides some 15 to 25 bikes to new international students every year,” said Manager of K-Bikes and Advisor of the Bike Co-op Robert Brown. “They get to use it while they are at Kenyon and return it when they graduate.”

The Bike Co-op is located in the barn behind 127 Meadow Lane and offers various bike-related services, like regular maintenance, changing tubes, air and oil, providing locks and bike assemble to students and members of the Gambier community.

“I had two older brothers,” Brown said, “so I used to get stuff used by them as I grew up. I got their bikes and had to repair them for my use as they outgrew them. This is how I developed an interest in bike repairing.” This interest led Brown to start a bike-touring company for young people when he was just 18 years old. Adventure Bound Bicycle Tours operated from 1980 to 1983.

Professor of History Wendy Singer donated the first K-Bike some five years ago. It was the idea of Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Jennifer Delahunty to hold a lottery and provide the bike to an international student. Sonam Lhaki ’12, a student from Bhutan, was selected to receive the first donated bike. Since then, this program has benefitted several foreign students who are unable to transport bikes from their respective countries.

“Receiving a bike to check ナ out and getting to keep it for your college life was just awesome,” Guillermo Garcia ’17 said. “When I first heard of the program I thought it was too good to be true.”

K-Bikes are, in fact, recycled bikes from Kenyon students. This is the third year the College has used abandoned bikes as K-Bikes. International student Furqan Dar ’16 said, “I use my bike almost every day to travel within the campus. I am also responsible for maintaining my bike so I check the air pressure every two months because my bike is a mountain bike. I oil it by going to the Center of Global Engagement every 2 weeks.”

“In the past, when this program was not in place, Kenyon used to be a magnet for thieves who would come to the campus and steal the bikes,” said Brown. However, Campus Safety has helped with this problem immensely.

“At the end of each academic year, Campus Safety sends emails to students about left bikes and requests them to claim their property,” Brown said. “If bikes are not claimed and left at various locations in the College, they become the College’s property. Usually these bikes are abandoned because they need a lot of maintenance and repair to be used again.”

Each summer, Brown collects the bikes that require major repairs. The funding for these repairs comes from the revenue generated by the bike rental program offered at the Bookstore and from the CGE. Six volunteers, Art Department Shop Supervisor Willie Udell, Professor of Chemistry James Keller, Gambier residents George Kopsic and Jim Dunham, Steve Nisi ’12 and Jake Lorber ’13, spent around one day a week over 12 weeks this past summer to get the bikes ready for this academic year.

“Bike Co-op is a big enterprise now,” Brown said. “Lots of people including some professors and volunteers spend hours for this program, so we want the students who benefit from this to lock the bikes at all times and provide minimal service like oil and air every once in a while. It’s a great thing that a discarded bike can be life line for someone else.”

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