By Nikko Gianino
SUPD installed a bike repair station between the bike racks and recycling center west of the Ruter dormitory over the summer. Recent graduate Ben Parafina was responsible for the station’s installation.
Parafina got the idea while working for non-profit organization Bike Texas in Austin and applied for a Student Environmental Engagement and Development Grant during the spring.
“I got tired of people borrowing my tools,” Parafina said. “The breaking point came when my ex-girlfriend asked me if I could repair her new boyfriend’s bike for him.”
The new bike station allows students to make simple repairs without visiting a mechanic or rekindling an old flame. Scanning a QR code on the station with a smartphone opens up a webpage that details everything from changing tires to installing and tightening nuts and bolts on the bike. The station also includes a bike pump for filling deflated tires with air.
Anne Hines, the faculty overseer for the student-run pirate bike committee, views the station as a way to get the campus community more involved with the pirate bike program.
“Our hope [for the station] was that students would take on a little more responsibility for the pirate bikes and utilize it to help maintain them,” Hines said.
The station is not just for repairing pirate bikes, however. Parafina hopes the station helps students maintain their own bikes and put an end to the bicycle graveyards that normally pop up on campus at the end of the year.
“Instead of leaving these derelict, rusting things on bike racks around campus for the police to pick up at the end of the year, people can actually go fix their bikes,” Parafina said.
Steffi Scholer, a junior and member of the pirate bike committee, sees the station as a way to make the community more bike-friendly.
“They have bike repair stations in downtown Austin, and I went biking in Denmark once and they had them every mile along the trail,” Steffi said. “Georgetown isn’t as bike-friendly as these places, but hopefully the repair station can change that.”
According to Assistant Chief of Police Brad Dunn, the installment of a second station (possibly by the Moody-Shearn dormitory bike rack) has been brought up in meetings but the committee is waiting to see how this one fares.