UBikes, the on-campus bike rental service that launched last semester, added more bikes to its fleet this week.
The student-run business, whose parent company is Wildcat Ventures, saw enough demand in its first four months of operation, allowing it to purchase five new mountain bikes and two new cruiser bikes, bringing its total inventory to 15 bikes available for rental.
“We started out with eight bikes, and we had six of them rented for the whole semester within a week and a half,” said David Guinn, CEO of UBikes. “That left us with only two bikes to rent out, so that’s one reason we replenished.”
Guinn, senior management major from Graham, said the addition of mountain bikes is to cater to students who began asking if they could rent bikes to ride on trails around Abilene. Several students in a cycling class taught by Dr. Kerri Hart, assistant professor of kinesiology, rent from UBikes because of its convenient location in the Money Student Recreation and Wellness Center.
“It’s just so convenient; you walk in and fill out a piece of paper,” said Cassie White, junior family studies major from Abilene and student in the cycling class. “And whenever we’re out riding, our friends are like ‘Whoa where did you get those?’ because they’re nice bikes.”
Jennifer Evans, junior family studies major from Abilene, is also part of the class.
“All we need for class each day is an hour, so we figure if we’re spending $8 a week maximum, then we’re getting out with a pretty good deal,” she said. “It’s cheaper than a Huffy at Wal-Mart.”
Connor Osburn, president of Wildcat Ventures, said it is an exciting time for bike-lovers at ACU.
“All we did was buy eight bikes, and now we’ve had so many conversations with people on campus, like with the ACU Green Initiative,” said Osburn, senior finance major from Southlake. “Now we’re looking into repairs, like a repair shop in the rec center where people can bring in their personal bikes.”
Guinn said he has looked into the process of becoming an accredited bike-friendly university and that he thinks Abilene is moving toward becoming a bike-friendly city.
Efforts by the city of Abilene include the proposed trails at the Cedar Creek Waterway and Abilene Metropolitan Planning Organization’s recent initiative to create more bike lanes throughout the city.
“It’s encouraging and refreshing to see it grow,” Guinn said.
The new bikes are now available for rental in the SRWC. UBikes offers rentals by the hour, day, week or for an entire semester and students can rent using cash, credit or charging their student account.