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ENVS students fixing bicycles with a tricycle

ENVS student Matt Keeler and ENVS alum Aaron Rourke have both contributed to the development of a “Mobile Repair Trike” which has debuted on campus in collaboration with the University of Oregon’s Bike Program, the Center for Appropriate Transportation (CAT), and Student Sustainability Coalition.

For the past six years, UO students have funded projects that aim to make bicycling a convenient, fun, and affordable way to get to and around campus. The creation of the UO Bike Program, the Pedal power generation system, and installation of eight do-it-yourself repair stations around campus are just a few of the investments made by students to encourage bicycling. The Mobile Repair Trike has been in development since 2013, when the Student Sustainability Fund granted the UO Bike Program $3,700 for building costs.

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Rourke, the former Bike Program Operations Coordinator and Mobile Repair Trike grant writer says that “I feel like this cargo bike encompasses everything that is at the core of the Bike Program…and in the forefront, student empowerment.”

The project started when UO Bike Program staff recognized a need to be able to do repairs in the field and bring their services out into the community more often. The tricycle is a comfortable ride, but it carries a metal box that, when opened and extended, delivers a pegboard full of tools and a worktable. Students designed the tricycle themselves, which allowed them to customize the machine for their needs. However, the freedom of design also presented a few challenges.

“There’s no right way to do this,” explains Keeler (who serves as the UO Bike Program Lead Mechanic). “There’s no guidebook. Seeing some things not work – small things like having a [bike repair] stand mounted to the bike – was very frustrating. I think it was good that we didn’t know how to make it, though. We didn’t have any preconceived idea of what it should look like; we just tried to make it the best. There was a lot of critical thinking and problem solving.”

In the end, their effort paid off. Now that the project is complete, Keeler is excited that “it will allow us to work on a lot of bikes where they are, so we don’t have to move them.” Mobile repairs are now available to a mobile student body.