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Posted on Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

University of Michigan launches bicycle rental program

By Kellie Woodhouse

One of America's most bike-friendly campuses just got a little friendlier.


A woman bikes down the sidewalk next to State Street by the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor.

Angela J. Cesere |

University of Michigan launched a bicycle rental program this fall.

Thirty bikes are for rent through the Blue Bikes program at the rate of $5 per day, $11 per week and $75 per semester. They're available at U-M's Outdoor Adventures office located on 336 Hill St. and the North Campus recreational center.

Bicycles come with a helmet and a lock.

The school says the rental program is a response to requests to make the campus more bike-friendly.

"Offering the bike rental program is progress toward meeting our goals in alternative transportation," said Steve Dolen, executive director of Parking & Transportation Services.

Earlier this year, U-M was named among the country's 35 most bike-friendly colleges.

Michigan State University already has a bike rental program in place. Bikes at MSU cost $75 per semester. Students at U-M's Flint campus have free bike rentals available.

Additionally, the campus is exploring a bicycle share program that would allow them to operate similarly to Zipcar, allowing participants to pick up and drop off bicycles when needed.

This fall the school is installing a station near the transit center on central campus where bicyclists can access tools needed to fix their bicycles. The school also plans to install new bike racks and two public air pump stations.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Mon, Nov 5, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

Great idea, but please ticket riders if they are on the sidewalk as shown in your photo.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 2:18 p.m.

I REALLY like this idea as I've thought... I don't have a lot of time and wish I could use a bike to hit the Wednesday Farmer's market during my lunch. BUT, the locations are so obscure that it's out of the question- I work in the Life Sciences Institute building, what about rental bikes at CCRB?


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 1 p.m.

The real surprise in this article is that U-M has an "Outdoor Adventures" office? What , pray tell, is the function of this department outside of renting bikes? My curiosity is piqued...

Mike Folk

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

Fitness, sports, recreation, team-building and rentals. It's part of Rec Sports. Check it out on the UM website.

Jim Osborn

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

If UM is such a great place, I wonder why I see so few riding bicycles. "One of America's most bike-friendly campuses..." What? Is this author saying this in jest? Has she ever been to other universities such as UCSB, University of California, Santa Barbara or UC Davis? At both of these campuses, close to 100% of the students ride bicycles on wide, freeway like bike paths with traffic police to enforce bike laws. There are no cars to worry about for the most part. Other campuses such as University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the Univ. of Florida are fun places. Michigan is about as good (or poor) as UCLA, except at least at UCLA one doesn't have to contend with snow and ice. The ugly part is the UM student practice or bending a parked bicycle's wheel while it is in a parking frame. How is UM any better than its neighbor EMU? (its not) If this is most bike-friendly, what is done at other campuses?

Sally Carson

Wed, Nov 7, 2012 : 2:44 p.m.

Jim - agreed. I've also been scratching my head at Ann Arbor's Silver level ranking as a bike-riendly city by the League of American Cyclists: This part from that page made me laugh: "Best Result of Designation: Ann Arbor proudly displays its BFC plaque on the front of its City Hall." Whereas other cities that received these awards have descriptions of the cycling programs that have been put in place. Like Corvallis, Oregon, a similar-sized college town with lots of cold rain that some might not consider bikeable (I still ride in whatever weather): "Most Significant Recent Accomplishment: Corvallis installed four solar powered, user activated bike/ped flashing signal crossings, which address safety and access issues..." etc.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 2:21 p.m.

Jim...I think you answered your own, well, question. Once the snow and ice begin, ride a bike around campus for me so I can watch you get broken. In Santa Barbara, on the other hand, how many slush and ice and snow days are there in the average academic year? Of course they have more cyclists and spend a fortune fixing wide paved paths, etc, as you describe. It's a full-time form or transportation there. Also, i think the main form of transportation on campus is walking. I can't see how cycling can improve on that in most cases.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

"The ugly part is the UM student practice or bending a parked bicycle's wheel while it is in a parking frame" It's called a "taco." Or "Tacoing." You stomp the wheel until it's "bent like a taco." Yet another popular diag rat activity...

Jim Osborn

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

I forgot to add that the traffic police are on bicycles and enforce stop signs for bikes. They also have speed limits in some areas so people can cross the bike paths. Yes, there are that many bikes, that you might need to wait for up to 30 seconds to cross. In Ann Arbor, you might need to wait for an hour to even see a bike go by.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:47 p.m.

I've wondered the same thing. I've never seen any truly awesome campuses like you describe, but I've never felt like UM students biked enough to count for anything.


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 12:14 p.m.

Please tell me renters will be 100% liable for the bike if it get's stolen......if not there won't be much incentive for them to lock them up.

5c0++ H4d13y

Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

Really? Why do you care?


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

It's not much incentive for entitled children...


Mon, Sep 17, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

The incentive is that the bike will still be there when they need to get back to where they came from.