Not only is Auburn University pedestrian friendly, but they are also bike friendly. The campus bike phenomenon is here to stay and Auburn’s Office of Sustainability is doing its part to make sure students are knowledgeable and self sufficient by putting in a bike shop on campus.
Lindy Biggs, Auburn history professor and local of 20 years, dreamed up the idea of an on-campus bike shop. As director of the Sustainability Office, Biggs has ridden her bike for most of her time in Auburn. “The campus bike project was one of the first things I got started on as the director of the sustainability office,” Biggs said.
With less parking on campus from new construction and the growing number of freshman living on campus, bikes have become a quick way to get from one end of campus to the other.
“When I first started developing the sustainability program, I heard that the campus pedestrian committee had decided to ban bicycles from campus. There would be parking areas at the edge of campus. You would ride your bike to campus like a car; park it and leave it,” Biggs said. “I went to the committee and said it wasn’t a good idea. Instead of banning them we should do the opposite; we should encourage them,” she said.
Auburn University Facilities Division did the construction on the bike shop with the programming help of the Auburn University Bicycle Committee, funding from the new student center fees and designs by Stacy Norman Architects.
Catherine Love, in charge of promoting alternative forms of transportation, says an on-campus bike shop is an important part of encouraging bicycling on campus, as well as bike racks, lanes, etc.
The campus bike shop will not compete with the downtown bike store. “We don’t anticipate stocking or selling major parts, new or used bicycles or complex services. The shop will provide accessibility for minor repairs, do-it-yourself services and a hub of bicycle related interests and activities,” Love said.
Biggs says that the on campus bike shop will be a more convenient way for students and faculty to learn how to do their own bike repairs because the shop will offer special tools and a work bench. The bike shop downtown isn’t as close as having on-campus access to these amenities.
Biggs imagines the bike shop being not only a place where the campus bike community can come and make repairs, but can also be a gathering place for the bike community. Those running the bike shop will be bike advocates and can help students and faculty learn how to fix a tire or put on new breaks.
“My vision has always been to send a message to bike riders and potential bike riders that we want you to ride your bike. We are bicycle friendly,” Biggs said.
As soon as management and operations are in place the shop will open. It is located on the backside of the student center where Tiger Transit picks up and drops off.
“The bikes are just a piece of the bigger sustainability vision. We won’t survive as a civilization if we don’t encourage sustainability. It’s really important for Universities to be doing what we are doing because we are educating leaders of the future,” Biggs said.