Profile: RamWheels (Colorado State University)

RamWheels strikes me as a very user-friendly program. Those who want to make use of the service can reserve a bike online, and then simply print and sign the user agreement and drop it off in person when she or he picks up the bike. It is also very easy to return bikes. Simply lock them up at the designated space and leave the key in the drop box.

RamWheels seems as focused on the off-campus community as it is on those associated with the university. What I mean, specifically, is that they seem to recognize themselves as a key component of the university’s public persona. For example, even visitors on campus for a tour or to conduct business can borrow one of their bikes. And they list among their sponsors not only university organizations but also local community groups. Their “Leave It Behind” program demonstrates a concern for recycling, sustainability, and a commitment to urging riders to think beyond their own use of a bicycle.

From the information available on their website, I am a little confused about the number of pick-up and drop-off locations. Much of the information on the website makes reference to multiple locations, but only one location is identified on the campus map. The size of the CSU campus would certainly recommend itself to multiple locations.

Also, the website makes it clear that “Fort Collins city regulations stipulate the use of a front mounted light when riding a bicycle at night,” and that “RamWheels may or may not provide a bicycle light for you.” In order to ensure safety and compliance, I think RamWheels should equip all bikes with some sort of light, and then require a refundable deposit to cover any risk of loss or damage.

Helmets are never provided but are available for purchase on campus for $5. I have mixed thoughts on this. On one hand, it seems that helmets should always be provided so as to increase the chances of them being worn while riding. On the other hand, this is an absurdly affordable price for a helmet. Owning a helmet might encourage continued bicycle use. But if you never do ride again, you’re not out much cash.

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