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Tracing the Tire Tracks

Berea bikers are fashioning a movement for environmental justice, replacing their carbon footprints with bicycle tracks.

Berea College has a plethora of hidden gems around campus. One such little known treasure is Berea Bikes, a program located in Alumni Building that collects bikes and bike parts to provide to students. Berea Bikes is student-employed, and is open between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm Monday through Wednesday. Students can bring their own bikes to receive repairs, rent or purchase bikes, and volunteer to build their own bike. If students need repairs, they can leave their bikes for $10 per hour of labor, or they can receive tutorials on how to repair their bikes themselves. Student workers Duane Graves and Jonathan Carman are available to assist students with repairs. High-quality bikes can be purchased for $50-$100, or rented for $10 per month. There is a refundable $20 deposit for renting bikes.

Fees can be waived through volunteer work, where two hours of labor is equivalent to $5. By contributing ten hours of volunteer work, students gain the opportunity to build their own bikes, which they keep free of charge. Students are not usually charged for a repair which involves them staying for a tutoring session on how repair their own bikes, or for a repair that can be completed in less than fifteen minutes. The program typically receives bike parts through donations made by the community, or by collecting abandoned bikes. Students receive used parts at half the price of new parts. When a part is unavailable, it is ordered through a wholesaler.

Berea’s Sustainability and Environmental Studies Program, has for years educated students on the impacts that even the smallest action can have on a global scale. Berea students are beginning to take action and put their knowledge to practice throughout campus. One way that students have found to decrease their global impact is by the use of nonfuel transportation, a feat that the college’s Berea Bikes program can help the students accomplish.

Although many students on campus have cars, they are only permitted to bring vehicles to campus after their freshman year, with the exception of some extenuating circumstances. While this may be considered inconvenient, the community engagement and academic focus are not the only positive factors produced by the absence of vehicles for first-year students. Bikes have become a popular resource on campus for students who wish to have more time efficiency when venturing back and forth between classes. With the accumulation of high-quality parts, students are guaranteed a quality ride for a small cost. With all the good intentions of the labor program in mind, Berea Bikes has crafted a program to allow labor to educate and increase the well being of the community.

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