Mangled ride, rack, relax bikes litter campus
Lindsay Porter / Reporter
In a large heap on the outskirts of Elon’s Physical
Plant lies a pile of the lost and forgotten, those that
fought the good fight but spent their last days suffering
through rugged use they just weren’t designed for.
These are the bikes of Ride, Rack and Relax.
The bikes used for the Ride, Rack and Relax program, a
school-sponsored initiative to provide students with access
to bikes for cross-campus trips, have become the target of
student misuse. In recent weeks, at least two bikes have been
spotted and removed from the train tracks that run through
campus. Another bike, according to Smith Jackson, dean of
Student Life, was left mangled after being struck by a
passing train. While no damage was done to the train, Jackson
warns that similar incidents could have catastrophic results.
“It’s not probable that a train would derail
(because of a bike on the tracks),” he said. “But
if a conductor saw something obstructing the tracks and tried
to stop immediately, there could be problems.”
Furthermore, Jackson explained, the uncertainty of what could
potentially result from a bike on the train tracks is not
worth the risk.
Another bike was reportedly removed from the train tracks by
a team from physical plant before it was struck, said Chuck
Gantos, chief of campus safety and police. And yet another
was removed on a separate occasion by a campus safety patrol
officer. Criminal activity relating to the train tracks falls
under the jurisdiction of federal law and railroad police,
Ride, Rack and Relax, which supplies 150-200 bikes to campus
and community users, was started more than a year ago.
Student Government Association members help promote and
monitor the program, but it is ultimately run and funded by
the Office of Student Life. It is essentially a
community-based program, meaning it operates on the values
established by the community in which it functions on an
honor system or sorts. When users deviate from expected use
of the bikes, the vitality of the program comes into
question. “A few students are intentionally damaging
(the bikes),” Jackson said. “Students should know
that the continuation of the program is contingent upon
students not damaging the bikes.”
Chris Morse, SGA president said while the Ride, Rack and
Relax program is doing well overall, he believes there is
some confusion over the limitation of the Cruiser bikes,
which has lead to mounting bike damage this semester.
“These are not mountain bikes,” Morse said.
“They’re cruiser bikes, which means they’re
designed more for leisure riding. People are jumping on and
using them in a way they weren’t meant to be
used.” Morse said about 50 bikes are awaiting repairs
ranging from simple chain replacements to more complex
“Placing a bike on the train tracks is just a blatant
disrespect for the campus and the community,” Morse
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Will Campbell / Photographer
The remnants of what were once functioning cruiser bikes lie
in disarray outside Physical Plant offices. Ride, Rack and
Relax program bikes have recently been found placed on the
train tracks that intersect campus. Others have suffered
gross misuse and approximately 50 are awaiting major and
Will Campbell / Photographer
SGA’s Ride, Rack and Relax program has been troubled by
vandalism. Broken bikes can be found all over campus. SGA
reimplimented the program last February.