Taking UConn Cycle Share for a Spin!

IMG_3469My name is Matt and I work at the Office of Environmental Policy as a sustainability intern. I was so excited when I heard about UConn Recreation’s new bicycle sharing program, UConn Cycle Share, that I decided to take one of their bikes for a spin!

Although a semester long rental is available, I opted to take advantage of their week long rental that runs from Thursday morning to Wednesday night the following week. Initially, I got off to a rocky start as I missed the 5pm Wednesday online reservation deadline that is handled through UConn’s RecRegistration website. Fortunately, a great feature of the program is that even if you fail to register in time, it’s still possible to rent a bike. In my case, I could see on the website that there were still bikes available, so I decided to stop by the UConn Adventure Center on Thursday afternoon to see if this was true. To my delight, there were still bikes available, and I soon found myself walking out of the Student Union with bike, lock, and helmet in hand, ready to tackle the UConn campus.

I experienced the benefits of a bike immediately. After picking up my bike, I had only half an hour before my next class, and I still hadn’t eaten lunch. Normally, there would be no way for me to walk to a dining hall, eat, and walk all the way to my class in such a short time frame. But with the bike, the situation was different. I had speed on my side. I quickly rode to McMahon dining hall, but painfully discovered that they were closed. I then hopped right back on my bike and headed to South dining hall. I was able to eat and pedal all the way across campus to one of the engineering buildings just in time for the start of my class.IMG_3430

Throughout the week, there were many other advantages of the bike. One day I had to go all the way to Liberty Bank, which is located on Route 195 past Storrs Center. I have had to do this before and it takes me a solid hour just to walk to and from the bank; however, with the bike, I reduced my round trip time to half an hour, and I wasn’t even riding quickly.

Riding a bike is also fun and reduces the stress of a typical college student’s busy day. In between my classes one morning, I decided to get some fresh air by riding to one of my favorite places on campus, the top of Horsebarn Hill. My bike was able to tackle the terrain with minimal effort, and I was able to enjoy the beautiful views of the fall colors. I even had time to tell my cow friend, Lia, about UConn Cycle Share!

IMG_3463Now, what about the bike itself? How did it perform? The bike’s functionality is superb, and it was clearly designed with the busy commuter in mind. The seat has several inches of cushioning, and is leaps and bounds more comfortable than my $1500 mountain bike’s seat. The handlebars offer additional comfort as they slope back towards the rider. This allows the rider to sit upright and prevents them from having to lean forward and hunch over. Additionally, on the rear wheel, this bike has something called an internal hub that allows for super smooth shifting. The final noteworthy feature is a chain guard that gives you great peace of mind. Trust me; a chain guard is essential, especially when you’re wearing pants. I was once riding my mountain bike on campus, and my pants got caught in the chain. The next thing I knew I was walking to class with my pants ripped all the way from the cuff to the middle of my thigh!

Ultimately, my experience was overwhelmingly positive. I thoroughly enjoyed my week with the bike, and I highly recommend this program to anyone. The process of reserving a bike is simple and straightforward, and the bikes perform very well. Furthermore, it’s a great green alternative to riding the bus and is much quicker than walking. If there is enough demand for bikes, this fantastic program may expand, so please share this with your friends and consider taking a bike out for yourself!

More information about UConn Cycle Share can be found here: