A (good!) bike for less than $60 including the labor to fix it up? Where else in Atlanta can you find such a deal? Look no further than the Starter Bikes, a collaborative project between Georgia Tech’s Students Organizing for Sustainability and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. Starter Bikes is now its own student organization.
From where do the bikes come? A surprisingly high number of bikes are simply abandoned on our campus each month. A bike that is thought to be abandoned is tagged for 30 days and then held for 30 days before being released for sale (GT Bike Policy), and after a period of time the bike is taken to Starter Bikes. There, the bike waits for either its original owner or for a new owner to come and claim it. Bikes are also donated to community groups through the program.
Why is the program called Starter Bikes? The bikes are “entry level bicycles for students and community members in need of inexpensive but reliable transportation. The program is also available for people who would like to try a bike, but don’t want to make a large up-front investment until they have more experience.”
How do I claim a starter bike? If you decide you want a new bike or want to begin biking (and we encourage you to do so!) go to Starter Bikes on a Friday night (between 4 and 6PM) and select your bike! To check on their hours and available inventory, they can be reached at their Starter Bikes at Georgia Tech Facebook page or firstname.lastname@example.org
What else is Georgia Tech doing to support biking on campus? Georgia Tech is committed to creating a safe, healthy, and positive campus biking environment. The Institute’s goals are laid out in the Bicycle Master Plan. As a result of campus efforts, Georgia Tech was designated a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly University by the League of America Bicycles in 2016.
Cost? The bikes cost anywhere from free to $150 and your labor to repair the bike.
My labor? Most, if not all bikes, are in need of some sort of work—be it inflating tires or replacing the brakes. It is your responsibility to contribute and do the work, but there is an awesome team of talented and knowledgeable volunteers to help you through each step of the process. Available on site are all the tools you need to work on your bike, and many replacement parts are also available.
Knowledge is power! After you navigate through the repairs, you leave Starter Bikes truly knowing how to take care of your new bike. This approach makes it so you can take care of your bike and be a responsible bike owner. Campus Sustainability team member Diana Tiernan went to Starter Bikes not knowing a tire had a tube, and left not only able to replace the tube, but take the wheels off and check their alignment! She would not have learned that if she just stopped at Target for a new bike!
How is this sustainable? Think of all the bikes abandoned on just our campus—it numbers in the hundreds! This program is alleviating all of those abandoned bikes from going into a landfill. The program also gets more people onto a bike—always a sustainable choice!
When and where do I check out Starter Bikes? Starter Bikes occurs every Friday from 4:00-6:00 p.m., and can be found in the bottom level of the CRC parking deck (easiest access is from the parking deck entry behind the CRC, or by walking down the stairs on the north side of the CRC). Any closures are posted on Facebook. Starter Bikes is always looking for new volunteers, and there will be trainings this fall on bike repair.