Blue Bikes Arrive to Campus

Twenty shining, navy blue bikes arrived at the Class of 1954 terrace, outside the Oliver Wendell Holmes library, this week. The bikes mark the beginning of a new community biking program that will allow students to rent public bikes using their BlueCard. The program, led by current School President Mike MacKay ’11 and Upper Representative Uday Singh ’12, will allow students to rent from an initial installment of twenty Phillips Academy bikes, helmets and locks. Big Blue Bikes will be similar to the bike rental programs already in place in several colleges such as Williams and Cornell. However, it will be one of the first among secondary schools. A bike rental program falls in line with Phillips Academy’s “green” initiatives, allowing students to lead a healthier life and focus on conserving energy. “Big Blue Bikes is a community biking program developed to support the growing needs of Phillips Academy’s community. In promoting a healthier lifestyle, a greener blue and a developing Andover, the need for a community biking program has never been greater,” said MacKay. “Big Blue Bikes is what some would call, ‘The Next BlueCard’.” Students who would like to use a bike will have to sign a waiver under the students tab of PAnet and submit it to the Dean of Studies Office. Then the student will get a sticker on their BlueCard that will allow them to rent bikes. The bikes are currently located outside the library and will be distributed from the Circulation Desk just like books. MacKay said, “Bikes will be distributed… in the same manner as books. And so, borrow a book, borrow a bike.” MacKay was inspired to start the program after multiple long walks from Rockwell to classes in Gelb during his Junior year. When he came back in the fall, he applied for an Abbot Grant, but he “did not foresee the liability challenges or storage problems that could incur, and so after one unsuccessful application [he] went back to the drawing boards and researched,” he said. “After being elected Student Body President, I made community biking my mission and took Upper Representative Uday Singh on board. Together we mapped out distribution, purchases and examining programs at colleges such as Williams and Cornell. We applied for an Abbot Grant in the fall, and the program was dubbed Big Blue Bikes,” he continued. The coordinators say that the program will go on indefinitely, as long there is student involvement and use for the bikes. Although there are only twenty bikes used in the program right now, the Student Council plans on obtaining more bikes once the program gets under way. MacKay said, “I encourage all those enthused or intrigued by the program to ride with us, so we can move forward and expand our fleet to accommodate even more students.” Many students were excited for a rental bike program. Chris Nanda ’12 said, “I think it’s a great idea, and I’d like to see how it plays out.” James Heaney ’14 said, “I heard a lot about the bike rental program in Winter Term, but I wasn’t really sure whether or not it was true. This will be a great way to get around campus, so I am definitely signing up for it.” Ryan Ramos ’12, a prefect in America House said, “Having lived in the furthest corner of campus for all three years of my Andover career, this bike initiative will definitely be useful.”