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Charging a membership fee of $5 for the year, a bike-sharing program operating out of a room in Faunce House was officially launched last week. 

Members can use seven brand new bikes, purchased with funding from the Brown Outing Club, according to Carly Sieff '09, who is in charge of the program called Bikes@Brown. 

Though the seven bikes are "not enough for the whole Brown community," Sieff said, they are good for the purpose of "making bikes accessible to students." She added that the group is hoping to increase the number of bikes by getting bikes donated by students who are leaving campus for the summer. 

Though the program started with less than a month remaining in the semester, it will continue to operate through the summer. A free, student-run bike maintenance service will also be available soon, Sieff said. 

Bikes@Brown is currently working out of the old Undergraduate Finance Board room in lower Faunce. The program's members — a few less than a dozen in all — take turns staffing the office on weekdays from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., when students can come purchase membership or rent bikes.

Renters are asked to return bikes after two days, but the program is flexible about granting requests for longer rentals, Sieff said. 

The program has been receiving e-mails from students every day asking questions or expressing interest, Sieff said.

"People seem happy that it's starting," she added.

The group has chosen a purple-and-gold color scheme to decorate the bikes because the design "stands out," Sieff said.

Bikes@Brown is trying to connect with other groups that use bikes, such as the Cycling Club, Sieff said. Though the Brown Outing Club provided money to start the program, members of Bikes@Brown are "hoping to eventually break off and gather (their) own funding," she said. 

Some students interviewed by The Herald seemed optimistic about the new program.
"I think it's a great idea," said Pam Zhang '11, "especially for people like me who live far away and can't transport their personal bikes to campus, and are too cheap or lazy to get one in Providence." Zhang said she was considering buying a membership with Bikes@Brown. 

"I think this program is based on an implicit social contract, or the integrity of the membership, that is only feasible in an environment such as Brown's campus," said Munashe Shumba '11.

Though he already has his own bike, Shumba said he would participate in the new program.

This way, "I don't have to repair the bike," he said, "and it's so cheap."




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