Students and community members gathered at Keddy Hall on the Keene State College campus Saturday, April 23, for the first Green Bikes Parade to celebrate Earth Day and the ceremony of a new covered bicycle rack.
The Green Bikes Parade is part of a week-long celebration hosted by the Keene State College Eco Reps and the KSC sustainability office to teach people about the importance of green bikes on campus.
The parade started at Keddy Hall and ended at the Mason Library.
According to the Director of Campus Sustainability Cary Gaunt, the green bikes program helps encourage the use of bicycle transportation to replace cars and, therefore, reduce fossil fuels. “Of course, there are no fossil fuels when a person is peddling a bicycle, and of course biking also supports the campuses commitments to well being. We have a strong commitment to well being,” Gaunt said.
The KSC Eco Reps could not be reached for comment. Gaunt mentioned that the green bikes program is the most vital program in the sustainability office, and that all green bikes are donated from the community.
“I support the program because…it’s vital to the campus and to the earth for multiple reasons. One is a campus community, we signed a commitment called the President’s Climate Commitment. What that does is it commits our campus, Keene State College, to be carbon neutral, to basically try to eliminate fossil fuels by the middle of the century,” Gaunt said. Gaunt said that the green bikes are actually recycled parts from other bikes, which helps lessen the number of broken bikes in landfills.
“They will actually take pedals from one bike, a seat from another bike, handlebars from another bike and a chain from a fourth bike and reassemble them into a brand new bike,” Gaunt said.
As part of the parade, the sustainability office broke ground in front of the KSC library, where they will be building a new covered bike rack for green bikes.
The covered bike rack was going to be placed on Saturday, but the KSC building and grounds committee realized that the concrete block where they were going to put the covered bike rack needed to be two feet larger, according to Gaunt.
Instead of an grand opening ceremony, students and community members dug the foundation where the rack will be placed in front of the library. According to Gaunt, the covered bike rack will be put up before graduation.
Green bikes can be rented by KSC students at the library with a KSC ID free of charge. Community members who are in good standing can also use these bikes if they bring a lock, according to Green Bikes Coordinator Marcus McCarroll.
McCarroll pointed out that he has been working with the green bikes program at KSC since 2005.
KSC senior Angela Scionti spoke of McCarroll and the services that he provides.
“Every time I met with Marcus when he would fix my bike, it was always so pleasant. He’s so friendly, and fixed my loose chain fast,” Scionti said.
Scionti continued, “I wish more people knew about the green bikes program on campus.”
Students and community members can rent these bikes for one semester or a full year and can extend their loan if need be, according to McCarroll.
Gaunt mentioned that other campuses have a green bikes program, but that these programs charge renters, typically by the hour.
The new covered bike rack will allow more green bikes to be stored at the library, which only has three to five bikes at a time; the rest are stored in the basement of Keddy Hall, according to Gaunt.
Altogether, the campus has over 200 green bikes available, according to McCarroll.
The importance of having more covered bike racks on campus is that covered bike racks protect the green bikes from weather damage that can ruin them over time, according to McCarroll.
McCarroll mentioned that this program also supports the Keene community.
“There are going to be five bikes over at the Monadnock Food Co-op for their Earth Day event. The Southwest Regional Planning Commission is borrowing five bikes to use at that Earth Day Festival. I’ve set up some bikes at the 100 nights. There is a couple of bikes that they’ve painted blue. The Phoenix House has got a small fleet of six bikes,” McCarroll said.
McCarroll said bike racks on campus are located by the Redfern Arts Center, the Media Arts Center, the Science Center and the SPDI lab.
In the fall, there will be a covered bike rack made out of wood, which will be hand-built by multiple organizations including Eco Reps and architecture students, according to Gaunt.
Gaunt mentioned that, if that design works, it will be the new adopted model of all bike racks on campus.
Jacob Knehr can be contacted at email@example.com