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New Campus Group All About Bikes

Samantha Lyon ’08 strongly feels that there should be more bicycles -- and people using them -- on the Smith campus.

Lyon is such a believer in bikes as an environmentally responsible form of transportation and as a fun pastime that she and a few of her fellow activists on campus started a group this fall called the Bicycle Kitchen that invites other bike lovers and riders to learn about bikes, safety, maintenance and benefits.

The group welcomes bike enthusiasts and those who want to learn about bikes to its weekly gathering, which they call “Bike Fixin’,” on Sundays at 3 p.m. in the Capen House basement, regardless of the weather. The Bicycle Kitchen also offers a Bike Library, from which students, faculty and staff members can rent bikes (for a nominal fee, the group emphasizes) or work off the rental fee in the “kitchen.”

“We started the Bicycle Kitchen because we felt there was a need for more bike awareness on campus,” says Lyon, speaking for the group’s charter members. “Students who already have bikes should also know how to fix them up and keep them running well, and students who do not have bikes should have a chance to get one.”

In addition to repairs and rentals, the Bicycle Kitchen members hope to begin a Green Bike program, in which green-painted bicycles would be parked in racks around campus, available for the taking for people to ride to another campus location. “There will always be a bike close by for students to get where they need to go,” proclaims the Bicycle Kitchen Web site.

Part of the group’s mandate is to provide a safer campus environment for those riding bikes. “We believe there are too many cars roaming around campus and this is not safe for people trying to get around using human power,” Lyon says.

In the spring, the group will open a bike repair shop in the college boathouse, where bikers can stop in for answers to their questions or problems, or simply to share bicycle knowledge and news. And lest the fun should be forgotten amid all the repairs and maintenance, the Bicycle Kitchen members plan to organize periodic bike rides locally.

So far, say the group members, the campus response has been very positive, and the group has recently become a chartered organization with the Student Government Association.

If it’s about bikes, they proclaim, the Bicycle Kitchen is the place to go. “The Bicycle Kitchen is a way for people to get bikes, fix bikes, ride bikes, hang out with bikes, talk about bikes, meet each other, and have a good community-oriented time, which always seems to surround bike culture,” Lyon said.

Charter members of the Bicycle Kitchen are Lyon, Anya Domlesky ’06, Maria Gonchoroff ’07, Jane Jones ’09, and Sarah Mossberg ’07.

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