College: where bicycles go to die

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It’s always surprising to me to see the large number of bikes that meet their demise on the local college campuses.


  1. Dan Bergeson said:

    It’s definitely a problem, one I’ve raised concerns about for years. The issue is that students have to either find indoor storage for the winter or ship their bikes home. The colleges don’t want to provide the space and no private entity exists to do that either. Students don’t want to pay for shipping so they leave their bikes outside and suffer no consequences. I don’t understand why this is considered acceptable, but that’s the way it is.

    March 29, 2011
  2. john george said:

    Isn’t this just “recycling?”

    On a serious note, my garage has been the winter domain of a few bicycles belonging to out of state students whom we have befriended.

    March 29, 2011
  3. i have heard tell there is a fellow who reclaims them and repairs them and gives them to the students who need them…but i don’t know who or makes for a great business, too.

    March 29, 2011
  4. Curtis Ness said:

    When I was in college the Universities policy was any bicycle left on a rack after Nov. 1 the lock was cut and the bike was recycled. This rule wasn’t enacted to prevent our bikes from being destroyed by the winter weather rather so that during winter snow removal the snowplows wouldn’t be damaged by hitting a bicycle.

    March 29, 2011
  5. Griff Wigley said:

    Dan, what does Carleton do with all the bikes that go unclaimed?

    March 30, 2011
  6. This is just more proof why Northfield would thrive with several Nice Ride kiosks, like in Minneapolis & St. Paul.

    One or two each at the colleges. Three or four downtown (Library, Econo, Transit Hub by Walgreens, Alina Clinic, and one at Target/Cub, and one at the Dundas Trailhead.

    It would eliminate much of the clutter, while still enabling the students to get around effectively.

    What would also be cool about a location at the Transit hub, is you could rent one for 30 minutes, and ride the trail to Dundas and Back. Think of the Tourism possibilities.

    Is the Non-motorized Transportation Task Force still around?

    March 31, 2011
  7. I just talked with Bill Dorsett at Nice Ride. The minimum fielding would have to be twenty kiosks between the colleges, Northfield, and Dundas, with the availability of about 200 bikes.

    I am getting more info.

    March 31, 2011
  8. Ben Oney said:

    200 bikes sounds like a very high number for a city the size of Northfield, even when you consider the colleges. I believe that Minneapolis is one of the smaller cities that has anything like Nice Ride, and I think there’s a reason for that.

    Also, when Nice Ride MN started, I vaguely remember hearing about a several hundred dollar charge being placed on the credit card of anyone using the program (refunded upon return of the bike). This probably isn’t a big deal for most people with a major credit card, but I imagine it might prevent a sizable number of college students and young people from utilizing the program.

    March 31, 2011
  9. I can’t speak for Carleton, but St. Olaf fails to maintain bike racks during the winter, despite a good number of winter cyclists (who instead lock them to trash cans, ash tray holders, etc). If the colleges don’t want a bicycle wasteland in the spring, they should provide a simple covered structure for people to keep their bikes — or shovel out a few regular racks (NOT months-long sealed storage). They maintain their student parking lots all winter long at MUCH greater expense. There ought to be some accommodations for bikes; at the very least, they shouldn’t complain when there’s a mess in the spring.

    That said, I don’t really mind the aesthetic of a few dead bikes in the spring. When viable, bikes are taken in by Green Bikes at St. Olaf, fixed up, and used for shared cycles. I believe there’s a similar program at Carleton.

    @John No, the Nonmotorized Task Force (of which I was a member) expired in 2009. Our recommendation was that the city establish a permanent transportation commission, of which nonmotorized reps would be a part. No action has been taken on this, to my knowledge.

    March 31, 2011
  10. Griff Wigley said:

    Anyone know if either of the colleges put any of their abandoned bikes on sale?

    May 23, 2011

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