Does your commute to campus scare you? Looking for the safest route to/from campus?
Learn the basics of bike commuting and get one-on-one help choosing safe routes with help from MSU Bikes’ staff!
Riding in the bike lane on Farm Ln. south-bound where passengers are let out frequently – BEWARE!!
Riding along Farm Ln., spring 2015 Tour de MSU
Come to the MSU Bikes Service Center and get a review of everything you wanted to know about riding your bike safely to work/ campus and for other errands around town. The 2nd part of each class will be focused on helping you find the safest and most stress-free route to and from campus. Attendance will include your own personal map of the safest, most enjoyable route to/from campus. Your instructor will be Tim Potter, MSU Bikes’ Sustainable Transportation Manager who’s been riding the region’s roads for many years.
These 1-hr. workshops are FREE and limited to 5 people per session so we can give the personal attention/ advice promised.
If we don’t get at least 2 people for a session by 2 pm the day of the session it’ll be cancelled. So, PLEASE be sure to provide your email address when RSVP’g so we can let you know if it’s cancelled, rescheduled or other last minute things that might arise.
For the first time the MSU community was challenged and encouraged to try commuting back and forth to campus by “green” modes of transportation, that being anything but driving a motor vehicle by oneself (aka ‘Single occupancy vehicle’ or SOV). 31 Spartans joined the MSU Fall Commuter Challenge of 2017, which ran from Sept. 18 thru Dec. 15, 2017, and logged some very impressive numbers as the info-graphics below attest.
Hannah-Terpstra, winner of the Most Bike Trips award
The top three Spartans in the bicycling category won some prizes from MSU Bikes for their efforts! The photo below is showing the overall winner, Hannah Terpstra, who logged 205 bike trips. She won a $50 gift certificate to MSU Bikes and a free cycling video analysis from the Olin Student Health Services Physical Therapy Department! The runner up was Joseph Hill, with 130 bike trips (won a $30 gift certificate) followed by Kelly Zarka in 3rd place with 116 bike trips ($20 gift certificate).
If you’d like to join in the fun in learning some new ways of getting back/forth to campus another challenge is running for the month of January 2018. Check it out here on the CATA Clean Commute website or click the image below.
Did you know that no matter how cold it gets you can still enjoy riding?
As a year-round cycling MSU professor of packaging (hat tip Diana Twede) likes to say “It’s just a matter of the correct packaging!” Your body generates lots of heat while riding and you’re moving faster to your destination. MSU staff also keep the roads and paths very clear throughout the winter for everyone’s safety, although getting to campus is sometimes a little more challenging!
Come to the MSU Bikes Service Center for one or more of three classes to learn more about getting you and your bike ready for winter cycling so you can enjoy it as much as many others do every winter. If none of these dates work for you then review our winter cycling tips here at your leisure.
If you’re already a cold-weather cycling veteran then PLEASE come with your setup and do some show ‘n tell to help inspire others! The following workshops are FREE, short and full of good tips you can use this winter to have a better, safer more comfortable time.
Sessions are limited to 6 people attending with their bikes and requires at least 3 attendees, so RSVPs are requested. PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESSwith your name if you want to be notified of possible changes/ cancellations due to lack of attendance or unforeseen circumstances.
Sorry, there is no visitor parking available nearby; click here for visitor parking information. They will ticket cars in the Bessey Parking lot til 6 pm.
We close the shop at 5 pm, so you’ll find the Closed sign up when you get here; the door should be unlocked so just come in or knock.
101 Session: (Mon. 12/04/17) — 1 space open!
This session will focus on the overall/ general tips on how to prep your clothing and your bike for comfy, enjoyable and safe riding.
This session will be a DIY studded tire and other DIY ways to modify your bike for added safety and comfort. Materials are NOT included and we’ll NOT have enough time to actually make your own studded tires but instead you’ll see a demonstration of how they’re made.
We get quite a few people asking about regular group rides happening in the area. You might be surprised how many different groups are riding, even throughout the winter w/ the advent of fat-tire/ snow bikes.
Here’s what I’m aware of organized by type of riding: (Photos courtesy of each group’s Facebook photo gallery – If I’ve missed any please drop me a line with a link to the group)
Casual/ Social/ Family:
Lansing Bike Party – LBP is a party on wheels! Casual slow roll cruise exploring town and nifty events. Food ’n’ bev stop. Nite ridin’ w lites. Boomboxes. Depart Fridays 6 pm Broad Art Museum, MSU & 6:30 pm Bike Co-op, Kzoo St, Lans. (Easter > Halloween. 6p Co-op starts Oct.)
Roll Lansing – The intent of the group is to promote fun social rides while doing things safely. We may evolve into more as we go and the group grows. Some Basics for Roll Lansing Rides: Have fun but not without being safety conscious. Promote Cycling.
Kidical Mass Lansing (MI) Area – A Family Bike Ride – This fun, open, and welcome group is for families (and family-friendly-folks) who want to ride bikes, build community, and enjoy the area together. We meet once per month on the weekend and start and end the ride at the same location.
MSU Cycling – MSU Cycling is a multi-discipline athletic club affiliated with MSU. As the oldest univ.-affiliated student-run organization, the club continues its long history of representing MSU through participation in regional and national cycling competition. Outside of the athletic world, MSU Cycling is actively conducting research in order to suggest the implementation of improved infrastructure on the MSU campus, as well as promoting the fight against skin cancer by partnering with the MSU Gran Fondo, the 4th largest such charity ride in the nation. As an athletic club that is highly involved in the community, MSU Cycling is continuously working to improve performance in sport and educate those interested in learning to ride safely and enjoy a healthy, active pastime.
Epic Mountain Bike -This group was created to help share information about mountain bike group rides, primarily in Mid-Michigan. Our regular group rides are on Wednesday night at Sleepy Hollow or Rose Lake. (This group does regular fat-bike rides thru the winter)
Denny’s Central Park Mountain Bike Group – This is a group of employees, customers, and more importantly friends of Denny’s Central Park Bicycles (Okemos, MI store). This group of mountain bikers consists of a very, VERY wide range of ages for men and women that also have equally the same wide rage of skill levels. Every Thursday night (weather permitting) we ride at different trails in Michigan.
SPINOFF-Road events – happening throughout the year – Hosted/ organized by Spin Bicycle Shop, Old Town, Lansing.
MSU Cycling– See listing above in MTB/Cyclo-Cross section.
SPIN Monday Night Ride!– SPIN Monday Night Rides are an enjoyable, safe, cohesive social group ride of roughly 22 miles, at a 16-18 mph average pace. Hosted/ organized by Spin Bicycle Shop, Old Town, Lansing. Road ride season ends sometime in October.
Touring/ Road/ Family/ Other:
Tri-Co. Bike Association – (Facebook group for discussion, sharing info; Facebook page for official announcements re: events, etc.) Largest and oldest club in the region, serves bicyclists in the Tri-County area surrounding Lansing, MI and beyond. Visit the web site (www.biketcba.org) for information about scheduled club rides and our organized rides. Four organized/invitational rides each year including DALMAC, a nationally recognized multi-day ride from Lansing to Mackinac City. Group rides of varying lengths and speeds scheduled almost every day, weather permitting. Various other services to bicyclists.
While walking to get coffee across the river one lovely fall day in 2016 I observed 3 students quickly jumping out of the passenger side door (getting dropped off for class) into the bike lane on the Farm Ln. Bridge where the lane is extremely narrow and very little room to avoid being in the “door zone”.
Riding in the bike lane on Farm Ln. south-bound where passengers are let out frequently – BEWARE!!
Riding in the bike lane on Farm Ln. south-bound where passengers are let out frequently – BEWARE!!
This is a very real danger when riding next to parked or stopped vehicles on campus or anywhere. Stay very aware and out of the “door zone” to avoid the “door prize” you really, really don’t want.
“Dooring” has contributed to killing many people and seriously injured thousands more; if it happens on the driver’s side you can be thrown out into the travel lane.
Yep, it’s cold and wet out there and you like getting to class and home again quickly by bike but don’t enjoy the wet stripe up your backside and soaking feet all day long. What to do? Make your own? There are plenty of ideas out there….
Cut what you need…
Start with a basic plastic jug.
Finished rear fender
Zip tie to frame, rack, etc.
Trip zip ties
Same can also be used to extend short front fenders.
Finished rear fender
Zip tie to frame, rack, etc.
Another creative DIY “beaver tail” fender – using an old tire. This can be done to cover the entire rear wheel if you’ve got a rack and some zip-ties.
These ideas can save you some $$ and give you some protection for the short term, but if you want to keep the junk off you and your bike for the long term come on into the Center and check out the various fenders we stock to fit just about any bike made starting at about $12.00.
Typical rear metal fender giving full coverage for the long haul.
Typical rear metal fender giving full coverage for the long haul.
Typical rear plastic fender giving full coverage for the long haul.
“Beaver tail” type rear fender provides basic rear coverage.
Selection of full-coverage fenders in our Center.
Selection of basic coverage fenders in our Center.
Pros-Cons of Different Fenders – Different Bikes
If you’d like to read more about the pros-cons of different sorts of fenders and the strategy of having a ‘rain bike’ vs. using one bike rain or shine, read this excellent blog by Jan Heine of Bicycle Quarterly.
Personally, I’m a big fan of full-coverage fenders (whether plastic or metal) vs. the shorter “beaver tail” style rear and mini front fenders that don’t block that much of the water and other gunk coming off the roadway before during and after rain. The other critical issue mentioned in Jan’s article above of a “rain bike” vs. a nice-weather bike is the salt factor here in the Midwest. I have a ‘bad weather’ bike as I don’t want to subject my nicer bikes to road salts as it will quite rapidly destroy anything metal on a nicer bike. I write that from experience of having gone thru several ‘bat weather’ bikes. Even if you try keep the exterior clean by wiping or spraying it off the salt water that gets inside the frame and other spaces will rust and destroy anything metal.
Wet roads are coming and when they’re covered with salt they are really harsh on chains and the rest of your bike. One of the most common questions we get in the bike shop is what type of lube is best to use. The short answer is that dry lubes are for dry conditions and wet lubes are for wet conditions.
Dry lubricants go on wet but dry and leave lubricant where it’s needed. The lubricant is resistant to dust or dirt and therefore works good in conditions when there is a lot of dust and dirt. Off-road riders will especially benefit from a dry lube when the ground is dry and dusty. These types of lubes do not hold up to wet conditions and will wash off with a rain.
We sell the following lubricants:
Tri-Flow Superior Lubricant – Teflon (PTFE) based, affordable and easy to use.
Finish Line Dry Bike Lube – Teflon based lube, all riding conditions.
ProLink Chain Lube – “Cleans and lubes as you ride!” Larry’s favorite!
Wet lubricants go on wet and stay wet after application. They are great for rainy and wet conditions and won’t wash away (as quickly) but attract dirt and debris and therefore should be avoided in dry, dusty conditions.
For the best results of any lubricant it is important to start with a clean chain. With any lube you should give it a minute to penetrate after application and then wipe off the excess so it doesn’t get all over the rim of your bike (which can cause your rear brakes to stop working), your pants, your carpeting, etc. A dripping-wet chain also attracts more grime leading to a real nasty chain that wears out your whole drivetrain much faster than a clean one.
A lighter lube like the Tri-Flow Superior Lubricant, is excellent for keeping other components of your bike lubricated and help prevent them from seizing up. We recommend a drop of lube on the pivots or hinges of your derailleurs (the things that shift your gears) and your brake pivot bolts (NOT your brake pads!) to keep them moving smoothly. Salt water can and will get inside your brake and shift cables and cause them to get sticky or completely seize from rust and ice, so a little chain lube inside the cable housing will help keep them sliding smoothly.
A few drops of oil in the keyhole will keep your lock working like a charm thru the wet, cold months.
A few drops of oil in the keyhole will keep your lock working like a charm thru the wet, cold months.
Finally, chain lubes are excellent for bringing a rusty or sticky lock mechanism back to life. It’ll also help keep it from freezing up by chasing out water.
A word about this type of lubricant: it’s the heaviest form of lube used on bikes and cars, etc. It’s the consistency of toothpaste and is something we only use when overhauling ball bearings in hubs, bottom-brackets, headsets, when assembling bikes and installing seat posts inside the frame, or installing pedals, or other bolts (like those that attach things to your bike) to prevent them from rusting in place. Grease is NOT used on your chain or places that are exposed to the elements.
Stop by the shop any time and we’ll look your bike over for no charge and give you more specific recommendations and estimates for getting it back in good riding shape!
May is National Bike Month and there are a number of events happening on or near campus to celebrate & encourage bicycling, improve bike safety, spread bike friendliness around MSU and have some fun along the way.
Approx. 25 people attended this 1st ever event and we had great open discussion about all forms of commuting to work (other than Single-occupancy-vehicles).
Now that the weather has turned nice, have you ever thought to yourself, “It’s such a nice day! It would be the perfect day to bike or walk to work!” If that thought ever crossed your mind, no matter how fleeting, this event is for you! Join us for a funny and informative brown-bag session from several “regular people” who walk or bike to work on campus.)
– When: May 17, 5:30 pm ~9 pm – Where: Wells Hall Courtyard (near Starbucks)
CONCLUDED: In almost perfect weather, on the evening of May 17, 2017, over 250 bicyclists participated in the nine-mile ride from the Wells Hall Plaza at Michigan State University campus to the Michigan State Capital in downtown Lansing.
As in years past, we rode in memory of cyclists who have been killed or injured. This was the 10th annual event held on the MSU campus with the route going thru E. Lansing and Lansing finishing at the State Capitol building steps. It’s a signature event for the TCBA Advocacy Committee and supported with private donations and funds from TCBA.
The post-ride gathering to celebrate the efforts of advocates and others who work towards safer roads and facilities for bicycling in the area was at the Lansing Brewing Company which is becoming one of the most bike-friendly establishments in the Lansing area.
MSU Bikes once again will host the Ride of Silence on the campus for the Greater Lansing area. Approx. 200 people joined in this very significant event the last couple years that honors/ remembers bicyclists who’ve been seriously injured or killed in crashes with motor vehicles. The evening wraps up with an after-party at the Lansing Brewing Co. to celebrate all the hard work area advocates are doing to improve things in the area to make it safer for cycling. The TCBA Advocacy Committee is one such group that has monthly meetings open to the public and needs more people concerned about improving our roads. The Facebook event page for the ride has full details and links to photos from last year for your viewing pleasure. There is also a Facebook page for the Greater Lansing Ride of Silence that you might want to plug into to stay abreast.
Approx. 40 campus bicyclists came together for the annual event to hear the thoughts and insights regarding the future of bicycling on and near our campus from the lead of the MSU Sustainable Mobility Plan, Dr. Wolfgang Bauer. Thankfully, Mark Haas, Vice President of Finance & Treasurer, a life-long bicyclist and avid bike commuter, also attended and was able to answer additional questions related to the future of bicycling at MSU.
Join your fellow campus bicyclists to celebrate National Bike to Work/ Campus Day with a free continental breakfast and get inspired by our guest speaker, Dr. Wolfgang Bauer, who will update us on the MSU Sustainable Mobility Plan and how it will positively impact bicycling and other non-motorized modes of transportation on and near campus in the near and long term.
So, you’re an aspiring Darwin Awardee and have a bike handy, what are your options to make history? Here’s my top tips based on years of observation, listening to incredible stories of crashes and researching fatal crashes all over the country that will give you a pedal-up on your competing wanna-be awardees! *
Ride your bike while…
1. …staring at your phone and rarely look up, just go by “feel”. You’ve been all over this campus so many times, you know every bump, bush, pothole; who needs to actually see where they’re going?!
2. …wearing ear buds or better yet, full ear-covering headphones w/ music cranked up. Your hearing is designed for awesome music not buses or trucks passing nearby.
3. … drinking coffee and going no-handed for extra coolness just like the hip song “I can ride a bike with no handlebars!”.
4. … going no-handed in the bike lane just a few feet from moving motor vehicles! What could possibly go wrong?!?!
BETTER YOUR ODDS! Combine 2 or all 3 of the above for more chances of a fatal crash!
Jump on your bike…
5. …without checking whether your brakes are working; who really needs brakes?! Maybe just take them off altogether to save weight and use your feet to stop?!
6. …with your fork mounted backwards (just the way it came out of the box!). Assembling a bike is easy-peasy like walking and chewing gum.
7. …without making sure someone hasn’t stolen your front wheel skewer that holds your wheel on the fork.
8. …with your handlebars flopping around completely loose.
Ride your bike….
9. … on the sidewalk, in the bike lanes, wherever is the fastest (against traffic)!
10. …at night with no lights and dark clothing.
11. … through red lights, stop signs, whatever. Street laws are for cars/ trucks and wussies.
* This article is satire and not intended to be a serious guide to your demise. Please DO NOT do these things if you would like to continue living. Read this article for REAL tips that will help save your life.
In true Spartan fashion, our mission launched with action. We broke down the BFU applications of all the other platinum-level and new gold-level universities to see where the big differences were most apparent in MSU’s case (those comparisons can be viewed here for reference). One of those that popped out at us were that other platinum universities had neighboring communities that were either platinum-level or gold, such that they were clearly working closely together to assure that the overall experience for their university community from home to campus would be a top-notch bike-friendly experience not just on campus.
We began thinking how we might be able to facilitate helping our neighboring communities in their journey to become more bike friendly. Bringing in some experts to meet with the community leaders came up as an option. The costs for doing that quickly made it apparent that we’d need help in covering those costs. The concept of a conference where we’d invite not only our neighboring community leaders but area business leaders and university staff as well was born.
A host of other Bike Month events were also planned and hosted around the conference which all dove-tailed together to form a series of bike culture building opportunities.
Over the summer the BAC focused their attention on developing a more detailed plan for how MSU will reach platinum. The draft below has been incorporated into the 2016 update of the Campus Master Plan (which has yet to be approved by the Board of Trustees) which is our current Pedal for Platinum campaign plan. Additional action items and projects are being discussed and debated within the BAC which will be finalized and posted soon.
If you’d like to suggest some changes or additions to the plan please email Tim Potter or attend one of our upcoming public monthly meetings.
3. Goals & Recommended Strategies
The university will continue striving to improve its standing from a silver-level to a platinum-level Bicycle Friendly University based on the League of American Bicyclists’ ratings. Future goals and recommended strategies are organized around the League of American Bicyclists’ five essential elements: Engineering, Education, Enforcement, Encouragement, and Evaluation/Planning. In addition, Michigan State University incorporates two additional elements, Environment and Economic, to form the basis for future actions.
Goal: Strengthen and expand campus infrastructure to support safe, effective, and efficient bicycling.
Recommended Strategies: 1. Design and construct all campus roadways as complete streets, complying with Michigan Public Acts 134 & 135 of 2010 and update university design and construction standards accordingly. 2. Fund and construct the final segments of the MSU River Trail. 3. Enhance and expand parking facilities within priority locations of the academic districts. Incorporate a minimum bicycle parking ratio for new buildings and major renovations into the Standards for Construction – Design Guidelines. 4. Increase parking supplies within the residential neighborhoods with a goal to accommodate 30% of the resident population. Work with REHS to establish a prioritized strategy for implementation. 5. Work with the lighting committee to assess and implement new night lighting in priority locations. 6. Investigate traffic signal progressions per Campus Master Plan modality priorities (pedestrians first, bicycles second, transit third, private automobile last). 7. Eliminate obstructions from potential ‘Clear Vision Areas’ to enhance safety for all users.
Goal: Develop and implement educational programs that promote bicycle usage and bicycle safety.
Recommended Strategies: 1. Continue working with, and providing information for, student and parent orientation. 2. Continued cooperation on safety campaigns with MSU Police and other campus groups. 3. Enhance and promote the MSU Bikes website. 4. Continue sponsoring bicycle maintenance educational sessions. 5. Continue to conduct campus rides to increase bicycle awareness. 6. Analyze results of the parking permit test concerning campus policies.
Goal: Establish ongoing strategies promoting bicycling for faculty, staff, students, and visitors.
Recommended Strategies: 1. Create and communicate incentives promoting bicycle commuting for faculty and staff through Human Resources and MSU Police. 2. Identify, map, and promote secure storage and showering/locker facilities. 3. Develop an annual fall bicycle event to promote bicycle registration, appropriate use, and safety. 4. Create engaging community outreach events centered on bicycling. 5. Execute a campus version of the International Car-free City Day.
Goal: Clarify and reinforce observance of university ordinances, policies, rules, and regulations related to bicycle use on campus.
Recommended Strategies: 1. Clarify nomenclature of bicycle facilities and revised ordinances as needed. 2. Work with MSU Police to increase enforcement of traffic rules and to identify areas of repeat safety violations. 3. Monitor and adapt the bicycle impoundment practices as required. 4. Strengthen university bicycle registration efforts. 5. Encourage bicyclists to report all collisions to MSU Police.
3.5 EVALUATION & PLANNING
Goal: Monitor progress on recommendations, working through existing protocols and standing committees.
Recommended Strategies: 1. Annually evaluate the progress on recommendations. 2. Update the bicycle plan every five years as part of the Campus Master Plan update cycle. 3. Work through AUTTC (All University Traffic and Transportation Committee) to draft position memoranda identifying bicycle system enhancements relative to new construction projects that not only benefit the project but the larger campus community as well. 4. Continually assess existing and new recommendations through activity of the MSU Bikes Committee and AUTTC. 5. Work with the Bike Collaborative initiative and other ad-hoc groups supporting bicycling.
Goal: Encourage bicycle use to reduce scope 3 emissions related to vehicular circulation, especially single occupant motor vehicle operations.
Recommended Strategies: 1. Incentivize bicycle use and other alternative modalities. 2. Incorporate scope 3 emission savings into bicycle promotional advocacy. 3. Continue the partnership between IPF, REHS and ASMSU to expand the existing bicycle share program. 4. Continue to promote and strengthen CATA’s Clean Commute program and its Emergency Ride Home (ERH) voucher incentive.
Goal: Reduce university costs associated with building and maintaining a robust vehicular circulation system by increasing bicycle use as a core modality for students, faculty, and staff.
Recommended Strategies: 1. Encourage and incentivize faculty and staff bicycle use as a means of commuting to, and moving around, campus. 2. Invest in secure and weather-protected parking facilities at strategic campus locations.
A number of MSU departments provide bike-related services to their staff to encourage them to ride bikes more often for a host of reasons that are well known. This blog articleillustrates some of those bikes at work around campus. The following are additional services & amenities that have been installed and/or purchased by departments. Consider asking your department administration about providing something similar to improve the bike-friendliness of your department. Our departmental fleet services are described on this page of our website.
Cyclotron Secure Bike Parking facility:
One of the newest department facilities on campus, this secured bike storage facility offers space for approx. 40 bikes under cover and behind fencing that is card-access controlled. It also features a security camera to monitor access. The Cyclotron has also had a traditional key-access bike locker on their premises for a number of years that’s been available to 2 bicyclists at any given time. A video tour of the facility can be seen here. Questions about this facility can be sent to Tim Potter. Here are some photos of the facilities:
The Cyclotron’s secure bike parking facility.
Features upgraded racks to assure higher capacity parking and to keep the bikes upright better than other designs.
Cyclotron’s bike locker (being reviewed by a visitor)
Bio-Engineering Secure Bike Parking Facility:
One of the newest research buildings on campus, the four-story, 130,000-square-foot Bioengineering Facility, features a nice secure MSU ID card-accessible bike parking facility on the exterior for area staff to use. While it doesn’t feature a roof over the parking this is certainly a much improved amenity for staff in the buildings in this area who are concerned about the security of their bikes while at work. This facility will be opening soon. It is located between the Life Science and the Clinical Center buildings in the South Academic District. Questions about this facility can be sent to Tim Potter. Here are some photos of it as of taken this past summer:
Infrastructure Planning and Facilities’ Bike Services:
Employees of this large department have had the use of a growing fleet of bikes for decades. Oftentimes trips to buildings on campus to check into maintenance issues can be easily done by bicycle to minimize costs to the department and provide options for staff to get some exercise and fresh air during their work day. On the nicer days of the year it’s not uncommon for the 30 bike fleet (as of 10/18/16) to be in use. Jeff Groll, the bike fleet manager for IPF, reports that of the 30 bikes in the fleet 6 are available for checkout by any IPF staff and the rest are assigned to individual employees. Some of those assigned bikes even feature electric-assist systems to make the bike trips even less of a physical challenge as well as extending the possibilities of trips that can be done by bike. Questions about the IPF bike fleet can be sent to Jeff here. This IPF article (Aug. 2014) features the story of Gus Gosselin, who championed bike use within IPF for many years for additional background information.
Additionally, IPF has provided access to a bike locker for employees at the Simon Powerplant for a number of years. Staff at this facility found the work environment inside to not be conducive for storing bikes inside, so the locker has helped provide an great alternative for some of their regular bike commuters with nicer bikes. Some pics of that locker below:
The locker is located on the east side of the powerplant.
A visitor checks out the locker with Gus Gosselin.
Gus demonstrates how his work bike can easily be stored.
Many people may not realize how much MSU departments and their staff use bikes to help make their work on & around campus more enjoyable, efficient and green.
In recent years MSU Bikes, Surplus and Recycling have all been utilizing bikes with large trailers to do even more work on campus that previously thought possible. Their medium length Bikes at Work trailers allow them to haul up to 300- 600 lbs of cargo and with the help of electric-assist bikes staff don’t need super-human bicycling strength to haul those kinds of loads.
Here’s a photo gallery of Cayden Bunnell (formerly of Surplus & Recycling) at work w/ the rig on a nice fall day on campus (2015):
Experimental setup for collecting recyclables after home football games, fall of 2015.
This video highlights the work by one of the Surplus/ Recycling staff who was the inaugural bike-trailer worker bee to start regular rounds collecting compost material and delivering recycling related supplies.
MSU Bikes has used the same type of trailer to haul its recycling materials, signage in parades and other special events, mobile bike repair clinic equipment and many other purposes. Some photos below show you the variety of cargo we’ve hauled over the years.
For over three decades the Infrastructure Planning and Facilities department has had the largest fleets of work bikes on campus (23 in Aug. 2014) which are heavily utilized throughout the year for work trips that don’t require a full-sized motor vehicle. Gus Gosselin, former Director of Building Services and current Senior Engineer with IPF and co-founder of the MSU Bike Project (which was the forerunner to the current MSU Bikes Service Center), was instrumental in building up that fleet and helping the modest bike get the respect it deserves alongside other wheeled transportation options for IPF workers. He’s been riding his bike to meetings, lunches and other work trips around campus for many years carrying his helmet into meetings to strategically let others know that he rode a bike. (This article gives more background on this history of bicycling within IPF).
There are other departments that also heavily utilize bicycles to help them with their daily work on campus. A couple dozen lease their bikes from MSU Bikes’ utilizing our fleet servicesfor their staff use throughout the work day. The MSU Police Dept.’s Bicycle Unit has the next sizable fleet of bikes which help their team of bike patrol officers with a host of work from Community policing, routine traffic enforcement and other types of enforcement where a bicycle provides unique benefits (they’re quiet, fast and can go places motor vehicles can’t go).
MSU Bikes has been “Helping people discover the joys of bicycling!” for over 10 years now on campus and I’ve been in the trenches here all those years. If I were asked what three things would make your bike riding way more fun and easy here’s my list:
1. Raise your seat:
After 10 years of seeing thousands of bicyclists in our shop and out on the campus roads and paths I guestimate that over ¾ of those I see are riding with their seats anywhere from 2-6 inches too low. I’m guessing many riders stopped riding when they started drivers’ education training and then brought their bikes from home that used to (maybe) fit them when they were 14 without making any changes to the fit.
Your bike is many things but is certainly not designed to be nor should it be sized to function as a chair. It is a great healthy, non-motorized transportation tool and when adjusted right should feel wonderful to ride when seated. If you’re feeling the need to stand often that’s another way your body is telling you to raise your seat.
Rule of thumb:
If you can reach the ground easily from the seat at a stop your seat is about 3-5 in. too low. If you can touch the ground flat-footed, then raise your seat 4-6 inches or better yet get a larger bike.
When you do come to a stop simply get off the seat and stand over the frame. If you consider that you’re spending 90%+ of your time in the seat pedaling and not stopped, it’s pretty logical that the seat to pedal distance should be the right distance for your legs to do their job efficiently. Exception: BMX/ urban stunt or down-hill bikes that are designed to have seats extremely low to be able to do tricks or other special types of riding; these bikes aren’t designed for traveling distances, so riders typically have to stand all the time if they’re trying to go more than a mile or so.
Your seat is attached to your bike via the seat post; it’s only so long and can only be safely raised so high. Most of them are marked with some lines that say “Minimum insertion” or something obscure; that means “Don’t raise it any higher than this point if you don’t want to damage your bike or your body.” We do sell longer seat posts for pretty cheap that can help get your seat up high enough if your seat post happens to be too short.
2. Inflate your Tires:
We’ve replaced thousands of punctured tubes at MSU Bikes, sometimes more than 30 a day during a busy fay. Most customers want to know what caused their flat, so we’ve built up a wealth of knowledge based on all that CSI work that we charge for: the main reason, by far? Very soft tires are the root cause of punctured tubes or flats. It’s called a “pinch flat”. Basically, there’s not enough air in the tire to protect the tube from the road, so when you hit a bump, pothole, etc. the force of the impact causes two instant cuts in the tube by the edges of the rim. Or the tube is so low of air that it starts slipping with the tire around the wheel until it cuts itself at the air valve.
Rule of Thumb:
If you simply inflate your tires every 2-3 weeks (certainly monthly) at one of many FREE public air stations around campus you’ll prevent this most common type of flat. This map shows you where all those DIY air stations are located on campus. Additionally, your bike will ride MUCH easier and with less effort when your tires are inflated to the proper pressure (written on the sidewall of every tire made; for mountain bike tires that give a range [typically 45- 60 psi], use the lower pressure during the winter months or riding on the trails for better traction).
When inflating very low or flat tires go slowly and stop and inspect occasionally; some tires fit very loosely and can blow off the rim with a loud “boom!”. Pressurized hoses like outside MSU Bikes or gas stations can inflate quickly so take it slow!
3. Oil Your Chain:
You know the sound, the screeching high-pitch squeaking of a rusty chain going down the road/ path. Those chains are crying for oil, your bike’s next-best friend to air in the tubes. A small bottle of chain oil from a bike shop like MSU Bikes will last you most of your 4 yrs. at MSU and also come in very handy if your key won’t turn in your lock very well before you snap your key off by forcing it. Your chain and other components will last longer if properly oiled and your ride will be much more enjoyable not to mention those around you who will thank you for not screeching!
Rule of Thumb: Oil your chain when you re-inflate your tires or right after riding in the rain. A little bit goes a long way, so don’t overdo it or you’ll have a big mess everywhere. Wipe down the chain after oiling it to keep it cleaner and from becoming a big ugly mess.
Caution: We recommend NOT using a spray-can type of oil as you can get overspray on other parts of your bike (like your brakes) that will cause serious safety problems.
If you’re not sure about any of this just stop by MSU Bikes and one of our staff would be happy to answer any questions about fit, help you find the recommended air pressure, or how to oil your chain.
May was National Bike Month and there were a bunch of events that happened on or near campus to celebrate & encourage bicycling, improve bike safety, spread bike friendliness around the Midwest and have some fun along the way.
Gus Gosselin, co-founder of the MSU Bike Project in 2003, gave some history on the formation of the Center.
Greater Lansing/ MSU/ E. Lansing Ride of Silence
May 18, 5:30 pm ~9 pm MSU Bikes once again hosted the Ride of Silence on the campus for the Greater Lansing area. Approx. 200 people joined in this very significant event that honored/ remembered bicyclists who’ve been seriously injured or killed in crashes with motor vehicles. The evening wrapped up with an after-party at the Midtown Brewing Co. with great entertainment provided by The Fabulous Heftones. We celebrated all the hard work area advocates are doing to improve things in the area to make it safer for cycling. The TCBA Advocacy group is one such group that has monthly meetings open to the public and needs more people concerned about improving our roads. The Facebook event page for the ride has many photos available for your viewing pleasure. There is also a Facebook page for the Greater Lansing Ride of Silence that you might want to plug into to stay abreast.
This first-year event saw 56 people in attendance for a full day of learning about how to encourage their university, business or community to become more bike friendly. It featured many inspirational speeches and presentations and wrapped up with the Tour de MSU, a ride around the MSU campus and neighboring communities, to experience what’s happening on the streets in our area.
Steve Clark from the League of American Bicyclists chatting with Mayor Mark Meadows, E. Lansing
Gus Gosselin, chair of the conference, introducing Mayor Meadows.
Mr. Clark addressing the conference.
Steve Sanders, Alternative Transportation Mgr. from U of MN, Minneapolis, presenting the UMN bike story.
Open Q&A session time.
Highlight photo from the Tour de MSU ride around campus
Tim Potter officially receiving the silver BFU award from Mr. Clark in front of the MSU Bikes Svc. Ctr. with Tour de MSU group.
The group riding over the Bogue St. bridge which presents some unique safety challenges.
Checking out the new bike parking shelter behind the MSU Cyclotron.
Detail of the new bike parking shelter behind the MSU Cyclotron.
Descending on the restaurant in E. Lansing and looking for bike parking.
We’re looking forward to possibly doing a similar conference next year. Stay tuned!
Annual Bike to Work/ Campus Day Breakfast May 20 – 7:30 – 9:30 am
Twenty-six dedicated campus bicyclists got together at the Brody Cafeteria to celebrate National Bike to Work/ Campus Day with a breakfast and were inspired by our guest speakers, Steve Clark, Bike Friendly Community Coach for the League of American Bicyclists, and Steve Sanders, Bicycle Coordinator for the Univ. of MN – Minneapolis, a Platinum Bike Friendly University.Some photos from the event below:
The 2 Steves chatting with fellow bicyclists.
Bike to Work/ Campus Day Breakfast 2016
The 2 Steves fielded quite a few questions from the group.
After breakfast we did a quick group photo.
Gus receiving the silver BFU award sign from Steve Clark w/ Steve Sanders on his other side. Gus rode 21 mi. into work that morning.
2nd Annual Greater Lansing Bike Movie Night May 20 – 7 – 11 pm Well over 100 people cameout for an evening of 25 great short bike movies courtesy of the Tri-County Bike Association & their Advocacy Committee and other area sponsors. Once again, thanks to the Kalamazoo Bike Film Festival organizers this series of shorts proved to be a blast and delivered many moments of the joys of bicycling of the entire spectrum of pedaling and human-powered machines!
Lansing Bike Party weekly social, slow rides Every Friday evening, starting near campus (Peanut Barrel & The Avenue, Lansing), these are a great way to meet new friends and discover the hidden gems of the Greater Lansing area.
National Bike Challenge
May 1 – Sept. 30, 2016 Join in this national challenge to win prizes and bragging rights! MSU has a team (of sorts) who have done very well within the Big 10 over the past few years. Join in the fun and jump on the MSU peloton!