A branch of Parking and Transportation Services provides an option for students to make campus less automobile dependent.
The Ole Miss Bike Shop, located near the Turner Center, offers bike repairs and rentals.
Stephen Valliant, bike technician, said the shop opened in order to provide a service for students, faculty and the general public.
“Bikes aren’t going anywhere,” Valliant said. “They’re definitely a worthwhile cause as far as alleviating parking and transportation on campus.”
The shop provides walk-in services for anyone who needs repairs, but their primary service is the bike rental program for students.
Valliant said they have acquired and made 100 bikes operational.
“There is a grant being applied for right now for a bicycle friendly university,” he said. “The feedback will give us a lot of direction of where we want to go in the future.”
Valliant said the shop quickly rented out the 100 bikes they had available.
With the added bike traffic, the shop is installing more bike repair stations and trying to promote the rules of the road and bike safety awareness.
“What we want to push is commuter safety,” he said.
The shop is finding new ways to accommodate to the high demand for bikes. Valliant said it has always been a university policy to pick up abandoned bikes, but now the shop can utilize this policy.
“We pick up 30 to 40, sometimes 50, bikes every semester, that are abandoned or deemed unrideable,” he said. “The ones that we can revive go back to the rental fleet.”
Valliant said prices for bike repairs change depending on the job, but that a general tune-up, repairing the bike without purchasing new parts, is $20.
For $25, you are given a bike for the entire semester with a lock and service at any time it is needed, according to Valliant.
The department ordered 50 new Ole Miss-painted 7-speed cruiser bikes to add to the program.
“There are a couple of grants that we are using and looking to expand to keep the bikes flowing in,” Valliant said. “It’s one of the next steps to getting towards more of a pedestrian friendly campus.”
Sara Douglass, postbaccalaureate fellow for the Office of Sustainability, said the program is great for the campus because it encourages students to bike instead of drive, which reduces carbon emissions.
“I hope we can get more bikes, and I hope that students will start biking instead of driving to campus,” Douglass said. “I also hope we can start implementing an education aspect of biking on campus.”
Valliant said he wants to see the program grow, not just for the university, but for the people who make up the university.
“We’re not looking to be a professionally-rated bike shop,” he said. “We’re definitely more service-oriented and more cost-effective.”