Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cool if you like bikes... and slime.

Apparently some students at my Alma Mater are trying to start of an 'innovative bike rental program, weBike,' which is really not innovative at all, because they have (and have had for years) similarly "innovative" bike rental programs in a number of European cities (including, but not limited to: Copenhagen, Paris, Oslo...) and even one notable U.S. city (Portland, Oregon, though nearby Washington, D.C. just got one!) for years.

WeBike is 'a bicycle-sharing program that prides itself on eco-friendliness, innovation, community and fun.' The students want to set up bike stations around campus and the surrounding area with "easy-to-ride, semi-powered bicycles." Now, this is where I have my first problem. (My second, if you count my irritation over their overzealous use of the word 'innovative'...) I don't know how a semi-powered bike can be more eco-friendly than a normal, use-your-legs, lazybones! bike... I mean, any bike (provided it's not a Vespa-style scooter or motorcycle) is more eco-friendly than a car... but don't even try to say a bike that uses any kind of power besides manpower is actually eco-friendly, given the alternative!

Secondly (thirdly?), I hate to break it to you WeBikers, but the University of Maryland - College Park does not have the most bike-friendly campus layout of all time. Trust me, I know from experience. The only time ever biked when I had my bike on campus senior year was if I had to go to CSPAC (from South Campus). There are way too many stairs and curbs, biking is downright dangerous with the thousands of students walking around the mall during a mid-day class change, and that hill by Stamp Student Union would be a KILLER to go both up and down. I vote we rename it Suicide Hill.

Oh wait, is there a proposed plan to conquer Stamp/Suicide Hill?
The bikes the company plans to use cost nearly $500 each, since they have an electronic infrastructure to help users get up steep hills. The weBike team said they were happy to find a light-weight, partially electric bicycle; if they hadn't found one, members said they would have designed one themselves.
Or, wait. Maybe we can inspire students to beat the notoriously noxious freshman 15 by getting some good old fashioned exercise and pumping hard up those hills! Yeah!! Rally!!

Last but certainly not least, what the hell is up with the picture the Diamondback chose to run alongside the article? (Color has not been altered to benefit this blog posting!) Someone call Ghostbusters, because Slimer has gone mad on campus. Or, maybe they've decided to start filming old school Nickelodeon game shows on campus. That would be pretty rad. Sign me up for Guts and Legends of the Hidden Temple.

View the original article here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I am thrilled you wrote about weBike! I realize your article is not the most positively written, however, I haven't seen much public feedback from a biker who has biked on campus.

Our goal is to inspire others to bike just as you enjoy biking. And while bike sharing is an old idea, some of the small things that our company does differently is what makes weBike new and innovative.

We aim to change the way people move. While you may ride around and enjoy the shade from trees planted long ago, we would like to plant new trees that others can enjoy for life times in the ahead.

weBike Director and Chief Financial Officer