Bike rental program brings clean transportation expansion at University of Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP/WXYZ) - The year old Blue Bike Rental Program at the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus is expanding.

The program, run out of Outdoor Adventures  at 336 Hill St., allows university staff, faculty and students to rent bicycles for $5 a day, $10 for a weekend and $75 for the semester.

The program is supported by the university student's government; it awarded the program $1,000, which added additional funding so the program could buy four new bicycles.

Assistant Director of Recreational Sports for the University of Michigan John Swerdlow said, "All semester bikes flew out the door and we had to make a waiting list. We decided that if you have a semester rental you can renew it, so for next fall we already have a waitlist going."

Damages to bikes in the first year of the program were minimal, Swerdlow said.

"We've had to replace a number of pedals and spokes, but we consider that normal wear and tear," Swerdlow said. "One bike had trouble with its bearings, but other than that the bicycles made it through the year in great shape."

If demand continues to grow, the Blue Bike Program plans to add 10 to 15 bikes a year, Swerdlow said.

"We would take a slow approach to it expanding," Swerdlow said. "If we continue to add bikes, winter storage will become a problem, so it's something we'll have to take on gradually."

All bicycles come with a helmet and lock. Each bike undergoes regular safety checks to make sure they are safe.

The Blue Bike Program was created to promote sustainable campus transportation. Soon it will partner with the Clean Energy Coalition; this will give patrons the option to get their bike at one kiosk and return it to another in a different location.

Rentals can be made at Outdoor Adventures from noon to 6 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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