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PennCycle Credit: Carolyn Lim , Carolyn Lim

Last Friday afternoon, Penn celebrated the realization of a simple idea by strong collaborations — PennCycle.

PennCycle’s “First Birthday Extravaganza” marked the bicycle-sharing service’s first successful year since its founding.

Together with its partners — including the Division of Public Safety and other member groups of Penn Student Agencies — PennCycle staffers set up booths on Rodin Field to share with students what the service offers.

The idea to create a campus bike-sharing service — which lets students check bikes out without the cost of purchasing one — arrived as an answer to common problems of transportation.

College senior Christopher Cruz, co-founder of PennCycle, spoke of its origins.

“I realized Penn’s campus is very long — I was staying on 41st Street and had to walk almost 10 blocks to get to the museum. I needed a bike, but bikes were priced very expensively. I was on the [Undergraduate Assembly] board, and so I started PennCycle, a service Penn needs.”

Interested students who stopped by PennCycle’s booths last Friday expressed frustrations similar to Cruz’s.

Most of them were attracted to the economics of PennCycle’s strategy.

“Bike-sharing makes sense, as bikes are outrageously expensive,” College sophomore Austin Lara said.

To realize its initial plans, PennCycle collaborated with many organizations, from the University administration to DPS to local bike shops such as Keswick Cycle.

All these groups had vested interests in PennCycle and wanted it to benefit the larger campus community. Christopher Santusso, a DPS security patrol officer who helped set up booths at the event, discussed how DPS’s collaboration with PennCycle helped reduce bike-related crime since its founding.

“We work with PennCycle to help educate its users on road safety,” Santusso said. “We provide information to them on how to wear helmets, lock bikes and share the road with others.”

PennCycle also collaborated with other University departments for funding. According to College junior Madison Roberts, PennCycle’s director, the Green Fund Grant provided them with seed funding which allowed the group to begin their services last March. This grant was initiated by the Penn Green Campus Partnership to finance innovative ideas to develop a sustainable lifestyle.

“Each of our partners help us in a different way, but all are equally important and essential to the life and growth of PennCycle,” Roberts said.

Looking forward, PennCycle hopes to address some of the challenges it faces in making biking more accessible to Penn’s community.

Wharton junior Alessio Boceda, a PennCycle user, commented on improvements that PennCycle still could make.

“The schedule and locations of bikes can be expanded,” he said. “Then we can get bikes later at night and at more locations.”

According to College freshman Zoe Blickenderfer, a sales associate for PennCycle, the group is planning to expand its fleet and incorporate an automated bike check-out system to address these issues.

“Biking has become a college phenomenon,” Blickenderfer added. “We hope to improve the biking culture at Penn.”

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