BY SHANNON RABOTSKI
Two issues facing college students on campuses throughout the country are a lack of transportation options and difficulty finding time to fit in exercise.
Drake University is tackling both issues simultaneously by offering both Drake Bike Rental services and Des Moines B-Cycle rentals on campus.
Des Moines B-Cycle differs from the Drake Bike Rental because it involves an annual fee of $80 but offers a promo code of “Bulldogs” to anybody with a drake.edu email address, which drops the price to $20 annually for unlimited 60-minute rides.
With a membership on the B-Cycle app available for iPhone and Android, students can take a bike on a ride at any time and lock it up at any dock throughout the city when they are done.
In the past six years, Des Moines B-Cycle has grown from having four stations around downtown Des Moines to 20 all around the city and is looking to add stations linking Des Moines suburbs with the city.
Four Des Moines B-Cycle rental stations were added near campus in August at the intersections of 24th Street and University Avenue, 33rd Street and Forest Avenue by Drake West Village, 30th Street and Carpenter Avenue and near the Knapp Center.
From Drake, students can take the bikes all the way to the Capitol using connector stations. Connector stations are stations set up by bus shelters that allow riders to dock their bikes and get to another part of town without going over the 60 minute time limit.
The closest connector station to Drake’s campus is outside of Smokey Row Coffee at 19th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, which has a bus stop and a bike trail next to it.
Using the B-Cycle stations, students can get from campus to the Capitol and various other stops downtown such as Pappajohn Sculpture Park and Hy-Vee.
With a membership, students can use B-Cycle bikes in any of 35 cities throughout the country in cities such as Madison, Wis., Omaha, Neb. and Denver, Colo.
Drake sophomore Tate Johnson likes having bikes on campus available for student use.
“Cars are expensive and personal bikes get stolen,” Johnson said. “The cheap access to transportation is a no brainer on top of insurance and parking fees for a personal car on campus.”
B-Cycles can be a good alternative to owning a personal bike on campus since they are recognizable, resistant to damage and easy to store. Using B-Cycle bikes, students do not have to worry about locking up or protecting their own bikes.
Though it is too early to see how successful the Drake area bikes have been, Des Moines B-Cycles is hoping to expand the program in the neighborhood and have greater involvement from Drake students.
Rob Muenchrath, the Des Moines B-Cycle Operations Manager, is hoping to see additional connector stations bringing Drake Students closer to the rest of Des Moines.
“I think it’s important to give them an opportunity to get around without using their car,” Muenchrath said. “Not everyone has a bike, and it’s hard to store a bike on campus … We’d like to try and get Drake students exposed to the rest of Des Moines.”