Big Blue Bikes to Return this Fall

Upon returning to campus this fall, Uday Singh ’12, co-founder of Big Blue Bikes, encountered an unexpected obstacle to the bike borrowing program he pioneered with Mike MacKay ’11 last year. Andover Cycle, the shop that transported, stored and maintained the bikes for a subsidized fee had closed over summer.

To overcome reduced storage space and compensate for unsubsidized prices, Big Blue Bikes will introduce a redesigned yearlong rental system, launching before the end of fall term. Students will pay a yearly rate and assume full responsibility of a bike for the year.

“[Andover Cycle] was sort of our lifeline. They knew everything about the bikes and how to deal with them. Now, we really don’t have anyone that knows exactly what to do when something goes wrong with one of the bikes,” said William Rodriquez ’13, Vice President and President of Management of Big Blue Bikes.

Singh said, “We came to the conclusion that year-long bike rentals would be the best option possible. The reason being that year-long rentals eliminate a lot of the problems that we face now and still allow kids a chance to ride a bike.”

He continued, “The changing of the system was not something that we anticipated either. We had hoped that we would have been able to keep rentals for the library and maybe expand them to Graves. But this situation that has occurred has forced us to reevaluate our whole problem.”

At the beginning of each year, a number of interested students will be randomly selected to receive yearlong bike rentals through a lottery system. Each student will be required to sign a waver holding him or her responsible for the theft or damage of the bike.

“As for now, the program is undergoing a bit of a change where we are looking for a new Faculty Advisor; we are looking to split from student council, we are looking to establish ourselves as an independent organization, and we are looking to be able to create a sustainable system that will last us for years to come,” said Singh.

Augie Horner ’14, President, Jamie Freney ’13, Vice President and President of Finance, and Daniel Martucci ’13, Vice President and President of Expansion, form the student-run board of Big Blue Bikes along with Singh and Rodriquez. They will spearhead the implementation of yearlong rentals over the course of the trimester.

“[Big Blue Bikes] is slowly becoming more of a self-sustaining, ‘in-the-hands-of-the-riders’ type of program with the yearlong rentals,” said Horner, “I think [this system] will definitely please students who want long term possession of the bikes.”

Singh said, “Our goal is to make sure we can keep everyone happy and everyone riding because we believe [that] bike culture is really important.”

The continuation of the yearlong rental system in upcoming years will depend on the performance of this year’s program. Student Council plans on expanding the program as long as students still want bikes.

“Eventually, we hope we will be able to get more bikes in the future to provide more bikes for everyone on campus,” said Singh.

“Student interest is one hundred percent important to [Big Blue Bikes]. Because, if nobody wants to ride bikes, then why have the program to begin with? Its community biking [and] the essential word in that is community,” he added.

Andover Cycle closed after the owner, Jerome Gauron, passed away at age 59 on March 13, 2011.