Social Bicycles

Grace Foiles, [email protected], is an undeclared sophomore

An exciting new transportation opportunity will be coming to Washburn University this spring in the form of the Social Bicycles program.

“Topeka Metro Bikes is a bikeshare system launching in Topeka on April 15, 2015. The system will make 100 bicycles available for short-term rental throughout Topeka,” said

Karl Fundenberger, Director of Bicycle Operations at Topeka Metro.

Membership each year will cost $25 for residents and $20 for Washburn students, faculty, and staff. Members will be able to use the bicycles for up to two hours every day.

“Washburn will be host to about 25 bicycles, spread across campus bike racks and a few Topeka Metro Bikes stations,” Fundenberger said. “Any member can use the website, topekametrobikes.org, or the mobile application, to find the nearest bike and reserve it. The bikes have a built-in lock and GPS unit, so they’re always easy to locate, and they can be locked up at any bike rack in the city.”

“Each bike will have a drive-shaft instead of a chain, and drum brakes and a three-speed transmission. They are designed and built to last,” he said.

This collaboration between Washburn University and the Topeka Metro system began two years ago when all Washburn ID holders gained the ability to ride free on Topeka Metro’s fixed-route bus system.

“Almost a dozen departments have gotten involved in the bikeshare launch, from WSGA, to the International House, to Facilities, and beyond,” Fundenberger said. “We are thrilled to be launching on campus!”

“More people should ride bicycles. In a culture that sometimes appears to be dominated by stress, but there is great freedom found on a bicycle. Imagine the health status of both the people and the planet if more people chose a bicycle instead of a car,” said Ben Marx, assistant director of Fitness & Wellness at the Washburn University Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

For those wanting to get involved with the program, there will be a launch event and open house on the Union Porch between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on April 15.

“The first people to sign up for membership at the event might win some Topeka Metro Bikes swag, and early members will be able to join us for a mass bike ride from Washburn to the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library,” said Fundenberger.

“The goal is for bikes to be useful: Topeka Metro sees this as an opportunity to expand the transportation solutions we provide. Personal mobility is a challenge for many people in Topeka, especially students who may not have easy access to cars or other means of getting around, so we hope that these bicycles make it just a little bit easier,” said Fundenberger.