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Bike rental service opens

October 10, 2013

Published here on August 29, 2013.

The WolfWheels QuadBikes Pilot Program officially launched Wednesday evening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the N.C. State Honors Village. More than 40 students attended to celebrate the new bike share program.

The QuadBikes program is the brainchild of Carlos Vega, a senior in civil engineering, and Brian Iezzi, a junior in textile and material science engineering. Vega and Iezzi initially thought up the idea after suffering personal bike mishaps—Vega nearly crashed into a student on a bike with no brakes and Iezzi’s bike was stolen.

“[Our bike troubles] just got the conversation started,” Vega said in an opening speech before the ribbon-cutting. “We already have a bike rental program on campus, but when we started talking about it, we started finding there were inconveniences to the program that needed to be addressed.”

This prompted conversations with representatives from the offices of University Recreation and University Transportation. Vega and Iezzi surveyed students who lived in the Honors Village—where they both live—and found that approximately 80 percent of students were interested in a bike-sharing program based right outside their dorms.

The pair then entered last year’s Think Outside the Brick competition and won second place. The $500 prize formed the basis of the QuadBikes program. David Crye, who directs the WolfWheels program at University Recreation, donated six bikes and helped develop software that allowed students to register and check out a QuadBike.

“It’s honestly been a lot of work on University Transportation and University Recreation,” Iezzi said. “David Crye has done so much. [N.C. State] has just been super supportive of everything. That’s definitely a good sign for the future of the program.”

Vega also praised the University for its help in launching the program.

No one really turned us down, and that’s something I’m really grateful for,” Vega said. “I couldn’t have made it this far if they hadn’t have been willing and helpful.”

The QuadBikes program is a pilot program and only available for students who live in the Honors Village. After attending a short safety class, students can register to use the bikes at any time during the semester. If things go well, Vega and Iezzi think the program will spread to other dorms.

“Hopefully, after the six months at the end of the semester, [N.C. State] will say ‘We’ll expand to Bragaw or the Eco Village’ or something,” Iezzi said.

Crye emphasized that student response would likely determine the future of the program.

“We’ll see how it goes, and if we see the need, if students like it and students want it, we’ll see how we can expand it,” Crye said.

In the meantime, Crye described the program as “a step in the right direction” in terms of sustainability.

“This campus is getting more bike-friendly every year,” Crye said, noting N.C. State’s designation as a Bronze-level “Bicycle Friendly University” by the League of American Bicyclists. “Our Wolf Wheels program has been expanding and growing, and hopefully encouraging more use of bikes. It’s an exciting program, and I’m looking forward to seeing how we’ll continue to grow.”

After the opening speeches and ribbon-cutting, University Recreation provided free Clif and Mojo bars, and drawstring bags for attendees. A few eager students grabbed a bike and made the first official ride on what are now QuadBikes.

Iezzi said he was optimistic about the program’s future.

“I think if this works, I can see students becoming healthier and less likely to use other forms of transportation that might be less environmentally friendly,” Iezzi said.

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