Bike-sharing program comes to campus

Photo: Jordan Woodson/Forum

UA Little Rock’s Sustainability Committee has partnered with Spin to provide a new way to get around on campus.

Spin is a bike-share company founded two years ago in San Francisco, Calif. The company provided 200 of their orange bikes to UA Little Rock as part of a program to help students and staff get around quickly on campus.

“The campus is pretty big north-to-south,” said Jim Carr, professor of construction management and chair of the UA Little Rock Sustainability Committee. “People living at the Village may have to go to the Reynold’s Business Building or the Jack Stephens Center. This provides a quick way to get around campus and be able to sleep an extra five minutes or so and still get to class on time.”

Carr, along with the rest of the Sustainability Committee at UA Little Rock, heard about the program while attending a conference. There were several businesses promoting their bike share programs, but Carr said he and the other members of the committee felt that Spin was the best choice for this campus.

“I love the concept behind Spin,” said Jacob Nesbitt, graduate student & Sustainability Committee member. “I thought it was a great way to showcase the way we would be able to bring our environmental initiatives to campus.”

To use one of the bikes, campus-goers need to download the app “Spin Bikes” and sign up using their UA Little Rock email. The app will show the location of available bikes nearby, like Uber or Lyft. The user will need to scan the QR code on the back of the bike to unlock it and start riding. The bike automatically locks down when it is dropped off in a designated area.

The bikes cost 50 cents per 30-minutes of use, or $14 a month for unlimited rides. Adding a credit card into the app gives the user one hour of free rides.

“I love the simplicity of the entire process and the ability to be able to just use an app to be able to pay for it either by ride or by a monthly fee,” Nesbitt said. “The conept behind it is amazing.”

The bikes are equipped with a GPS locator to make sure they don’t go off campus. The bikes also come with features that can help the environment.

“The bikes are solar powered,” Carr said. “So once they’re out in the sunlight, they can recharge the batteries and be easily working for the next person to use. It’s a way to help make our campus more environmentally friendly.”

Along with the environmental benefits, the bikes provide health benefits as well. Karl Lenser, Employee Wellness Coordinator with Health Services, explains that the bikes provide the students with the “Three F’s”: Fun, Freedom, and Fitness.

“Movement is medicine and that’s all this is,” he said. “As long as people use them, it’s going to benefit this campus greatly. It’s the greatest thing.”

Along with the staff, SGA President Brian Gregory thinks the bikes are a good new edition on campus.

“You just have to hop on one of the bikes, pay a dollar, and then you’re good to go,” Gregory said. “It’s one of the most interesting things we’ve done in my four years here. I’m really excited about it.”

The bikes are located near high-traffic areas around campus including the Ottenhheimer Library, The Donaghey Student Center and the residence halls on campus. Spin also plans on hiring students to help retrieve bikes, work on the app, and work with the program as a whole. Students who are interested can email for more information.

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