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Transportation around UMass Lowell’s campuses got a fresh look this spring with the March 24 kickoff of Rec-Cycles, a new bike-sharing program.
Faculty, staff and students can borrow a bike, helmet and lock for a day from the Campus Recreation Center. Since the program launched, bikes have been checked out more than 175 times.
Rec-Cycles is a project of the Healthy Campus campaign, funded as a dean’s signature initiative of the School of Health and Environment in collaboration with the Campus Recreation Center and the Facilities Office. Rec-Cycles is headed by Deirdra Murphy, assistant professor of physical therapy, and Peter Murray, director of campus recreation.
“Bike-sharing on campus can save time, help the environment and eliminate parking problems ߝ while users increase physical activity and improve their health,” says Murphy. “Rec-Cycles is also just one part of a coordinated effort to encourage walking and biking on campus, improve nutrition and reduce obesity. We think this model can be expanded to other campuses and communities.”
“I have to say that I am really excited about the program,” says Murray. “It has been a lot of work to keep the bikes in working order, but the students seem to really like the program and that makes it all worthwhile.”
So far, most of the bikes have been borrowed by students, and Murphy and Murray say they’re working on ways to draw more faculty and staff users. Both also say they’d like to not only expand the program to include a checkout center on each campus, but also encourage more people to use bicycles to commute to and from campus, whether for work or classes.