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Hello Vélo

Introduction of bike share program makes cycling a convenient way to go

Michael Remedies, a freshman computer science major from Many, La., values the University’s Geaux Vélo bike share program for one reason.

“I like knowing it’s there in case I wake up late and need to get to class quickly,” he said.

His use of the bike rental program has been solely on campus. But students, faculty, and staff are able to take the bikes all over. Riders are pedaling to destinations around Lafayette, from stores to music concerts, according to Gretchen Vanicor, director of UL Lafayette’s Office of Sustainability.

“I get photos from people who see bikes at places like Champagne’s Market in the Oil Center and Downtown Alive!,” she said. Over 2,200 riders have registered since the program began last spring.

A total of 52 bicycles are housed at three campus stations: 32 at Cajun Field, 10 outside the Student Union on Boucher Street, and 10 in Girard Park Circle Parking Garage. More bikes will be added. Two stations will be established later this year: one in downtown Lafayette and another near the intersection of W. Congress Street and Cajundome Boulevard. Each will have 10 bikes. Rental costs are free for the first hour, $1 for the second hour, and $1 for the third. Hours four through eight are free. The cost for each hour after the eighth is $1. Bikes are due back to their original station by midnight.

“We have some riders with more than 40 rides who have never been charged, because they always return the bikes within an hour,” Vanicor said.

Riders register online at geauxvelobikeshare.com. They receive a user name and PIN number after providing financial information via a credit or debit card. A student can use his Cajun Card, which doubles as a UL Lafayette ID and debit card. A rider then enters his PIN number — or swipes his University ID or driver’s license — to obtain a key at kiosks near each station. The key unlocks a bicycle and must remain inside a lock while it’s being ridden.

The bikes are supplied by Rugged Cycles, a company in Bryan, Texas. Each has an aluminum frame atop tires of solid rubber that won’t go flat. The chains are enclosed to keep clothing or shoelaces from snagging. Baskets are mounted in back for carrying items such as school supplies or groceries.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2016/Winter 2017 issue of La Louisiane.

Learn more about the Geaux Vélo program.