Rigel Valentine, interim assistant program director of the adventure center & outdoor programs, spoke about the University of Connecticut’s Cycle Share program and how it has been adjusted to fit COVID-19 regulations.
Valentine said they work to ensure student safety with the bikes they provide and in limiting the possibility of COVID-19 transmission. In addition to mechanical inspections, he said they use plexiglass barriers at their rental desk and no longer accept cash payments for a rental.
“All Cycle Share bikes are cleaned and inspected for mechanical issues between each renter. This ensures that when a student rents a Cycle Share bike they can have the reassurance that the bike will be in a good working order and that cleaning procedures have been taken to minimize risk of disease transmission … Our rental desk has been outfitted with a Plexiglas barrier, and … our card readers are equipped to accept touchless payments through cards or methods such as Apple Pay,” Valentine said.
Valentine said he feels the Cycle Share program was poised to make a smooth transition to COVID-19 regulations. He said it is different from other bike rental programs in that renters are the only individuals who have access to their bikes while they are renting.
“The Cycle Share program has always operated in a way that made it relatively easy to transition to safe practices with regards to COVID-19,” Valentine said. “The nature of the rental program focuses on providing individual renters with a bicycle that remains in their possession for the duration of the rental … This style of rental program ensures that there should be no unknown use of the specific bike by other users.”
“All Cycle Share bikes are cleaned and inspected for mechanical issues between each renter. This ensures that when a student rents a Cycle Share bike they can have the reassurance that the bike will be in a good working order and that cleaning procedures have been taken to minimize risk of disease transmission”Rigel Valentine, interim assistant program director of the Adventure Center & Outdoor Programs
When discussing the students who use the service the most, Valentine said they primarily serve students who use Cycle Share for daily campus activities. He said the students appreciate the routine maintenance available to them.
“Our primary users are students who rely on the bikes on a day-to-day basis to get to class, the grocery store or dining hall,” Valentine said. “Students appreciate the reliable source of transportation around campus as well as the comfort of knowing that we will provide routine maintenance and upkeep as needed.”
Valentine said they still serve a variety of students who may want shorter rentals for various reasons. He said bike rentals can benefit student health while also providing fun, socially distanced activities.
“The idea behind this is to provide a reliable bike for everyday use while also having an option for the students who simply want to just go for a bike ride on a nice day,” Valentine said. “Bikes can be beneficial to both physical and mental health … Bike rides can be a great way to get out and explore the bike trails and roads around campus … while still maintaining distance from others this spring.”
“For more information about bike rentals visit our webpage at https://recreation.uconn.edu/programs/cycle-share/, and if you want suggestions for bike routes around campus you can visit our webpage with some route suggestions or visit the adventure center to talk to our staff,” Valentine said.