U-M Launches Bike Rental Program on Campus

Dana Budzaj, Public Affairs; Photos by Lisa Pappas, Graham Institute
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A new, two-wheel "green" alternative is available for people commuting around campus this fall with the launch of the university’s bicycle rental program, Blue Bikes.

Thirty blue bicycles, featuring a “blue bike” decal, are available to students, faculty and staff for daily, weekend and semester rentals. Rates begin at $5 for a daily rental, $11 for the weekend and $75 for the semester. The bikes are available at two campus locations: Outdoor Adventures and the North Campus Recreational Building.

Operated by Outdoor Adventures within Recreational Sports, the program was developed in collaboration with Parking & Transportation Services, the Office of Campus Sustainability and the University Planner’s Office

“Offering the bike rental program is progress toward meeting our goals in alternative transportation,” said Steve Dolen, executive director of Parking & Transportation Services. “It’s also an ideal option for our non-local and international students who may not have immediate access to a vehicle on campus.”

The Blue Bikes rental program responds to requests for a more bike-friendly campus, as well as meets recommendations outlined in the Campus Sustainability Integrated Assessment, a two-year project led in partnership by the Graham Sustainability Institute and OCS that resulted in a report and helped define the university’s goals for advancing campus sustainability. 

Routine maintenance for the Blue Bikes will be provided by Outdoor Adventures, and the unit will continue to offer bike maintenance clinics to the campus community through a partnership with Common Cycle, a community-based, bike repair organization founded by U-M students. Details on the clinics will be posted online later this month.

In addition to the rental program, several supporting bicycle amenities will be installed this fall including: additional bike racks in high-demand areas; two public air pump stations; a “fix it” station near the Central Campus Transit Center where cyclists can access available tools for quick fixes. The university is also participating in discussions to bring a bike share program to campus and the Ann Arbor area in the future.

Bicyclists also have the option of renting a space in the enclosed bike storage facility located on the south side of the Thompson Street parking structure. The secured facility has the capacity for 50 bicycles and an air compressor available for use at no additional charge.

“We are always exploring enhancements to the bike experience on campus, and improving the connection between North and Central campuses,” Dolen added.

In March, the university was named a Bike Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists; one of only 35 campuses nationwide to receive the designation.