Boise State is about to make life a lot easier for bike commuters. Under the direction of Lynda Ransdell, the Department of Kinesiology is set this week to open a new "bike barn" for BSU's two-wheeled commuters. The facility, believed to be the first of its kind on a Northwest college campus, will provide a locked indoor bike storage facility, showers and lockers. And they'll have drycleaning drop-off and delivery services for people who don't want their work clothes to look like they just came out of a messenger bag. Cost for use of the facility is $45 per year for faculty and staff for a full locker, or $30 per year for a half-locker. Cost for students is $10 per semester for a half-locker. For Ransdell, who has been a bike commuter for the last eight years, the facility represents the sort of thing she's seen in other, bigger cities but knew might work in Boise. The grand opening of the bike barn is Friday, September 22 at 10 a.m. at the Kinesiology Annex, on the east side of campus south of the Taco Bell Arena. Registration for the 40 available spaces will begin that day.
BW: So what started this?
We as a department are very committed to, number one, getting people more active. That's one of our primary missions. There are also several members of this department, faculty members, that are rabid cyclists. I wouldn't even say avid, I'd say rabid. Those were two key factors.
What kind of facility were you looking for?
Safe storage is an issue on campus. There are many people who bike to work year-round because we have a great climate here. They want their bike protected against snow and rain. And if you think of a typical student who leaves their bike outside 24/7, they have to buy new tires every six months because they get so chewed up by the weather. We anticipate students are going to be using it as well.
How long have you been commuting by bike?
This is my third year at Boise State. But I also bike commuted when I was at the University of Utah [in Salt Lake City], so I'd say I've been doing it a total of about eight years. I was fortunate at Utah; I had a full-sized locker. And full-sized lockers are much better for storing dress clothes.
Describe the facility for me. What is the average bike barn user going to see?
It's a keypad entry. Anybody who becomes a member, so to speak, of the bike barn will get a specific key code. We're going to encourage people to keep that very, very secure, and not let anybody in after them who is not a member. Then, when you walk in, there are bike racks bolted into the cement. There are also bike racks mounted to the walls. We are still going to ask everybody to lock their bikes up, as an extra measure of security. You just never know. We do worry about becoming a target of theft. We are looking at putting in some video surveillance, but that's a little bit down the line.
Is bike theft a problem on the Boise State campus?
Absolutely. I've noticed it's a problem at the beginning of the year and at holidays, when campus is a little bit more deserted. You can walk around campus and you'll see all the bike "skeletons," where they've stripped all the parts and they just leave the skeleton that's still chained.
What do you tell someone who might be interested in biking to work but hasn't done it yet?
Gas savings is huge. I save a ton of money on gas, with gas prices as they are. The fitness you gain is huge. Anything you can do above and beyond sitting at your desk can be a positive health benefit.