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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Pedal Grinnell cruises on with admin support

Meilynn Smith
From Left: Ethan Versh `27, Peter Versh `25, Hope Harrington `24, August Ngo `27 and Leo Goldman `27 form the five paid Pedal Grinnell mechanics who seek to elevate Grinnell’s bike scene.

Pedal Grinnell, the College’s student-run bike initiative, has officially started to release their fleet of bikes onto campus as the weather improves. Now in their second year of full operation, the group has grown from a typical student organization into a paid student entity under the Division of Student Affairs (DSA). This change, said Pedal Grinnell student workers, is meant to provide access to proper resources and cement their efforts on campus for years to come.

“We want to make this a long-term mission,” said Peter Versh `25, a current Pedal Grinnell employee who has been with the organization since its inception. Versh is currently one of five paid student mechanics who run the group and maintain the bikes. Hope Harrington `24, Ethan Versh `27, August Ngo `27 and Leo Goldman `27 make up the rest of the team.

Pedal Grinnell began its first year of operation in the 2022 to 2023 academic year. Previously, they functioned as a student organization that relied on volunteer work and student government funding. Over the summer before their second year of operation, however, members of the groups said that they began working with College administration to transition into their new place under DSA.

“The amount of work that needs to be done on a weekly basis, it warrants those positions,” said Harrington about the effort needed to maintain the program.

True to their name, the mechanics are quick to ride to the rescue for any bikes in need of a repair. (Meilynn Smith)

In addition to maintaining their fleet of 20 bikes, Pedal Grinnell mechanics help register people for an app and track down lost bikes around campus. Anytime a bike doesn’t make it back to a station, Harrington explained, the team sends an email to their users asking them to help track it down. This strategy has been successful, as no bikes have gone permanently missing thus far.

“It is kind of on Grinnell as an entire campus community to treat the bikes with respect, not steal them, put them back where they belong,” said Harrington.

Versh added to this sentiment, saying, “I think it’s really awesome and also speaks to a community-minded mission and building a community.”

Looking forward, the group has applied for $20,000 of the College’s Capital One Grant funding, which is a fund of money Grinnell has set aside for special projects meant to benefit the community. According to their proposal, they hope to use this money to purchase 10 new bikes and 30 new docking stations, many of which will be placed outside the new Renfrow Hall. They will hear back about their proposal by the end of the spring semester.

The Pedal Grinnell team said that they encourage bike enthusiasts and newbies alike to utilize their resources. They note that their office hours, Monday and Wednesday 4 to 6 p.m. at 1127 Elm Street, are a time for students to not only come ask questions about their bike program but also get free work done on their own bikes.

The team recently applied to use a Capitol One grant to fund the acquisition of new bikes and stations, further providing access to Grinnell’s bikers. (Meilynn Smith)

“We’re here to teach people how to fix their own bikes,” said Ethan Versh, “we really want to be a resource that’s available to everyone.”

The team also said that they are expanding their operation by partnering with groups like Grinnell Outdoor Recreation Program (GORP) and the triathlon class to make bike riding more accessible to Grinnell students. They also plan to start providing bike lessons to anyone who would like to learn.

“When I got here, I was like ‘I hope there’s a biking community here’ because I want to keep doing that,” said Goldman, an avid biker in high school who is in his first semester as a mechanic, “So Pedal Grinnell, it was pretty exciting to hear that it existed.”

Twelve of the 20 bikes are currently stationed around campus, with plans to set out the remaining eight after spring break. For those not yet registered, they can download the On Bike Share app and reach out to the [pedal] email to be approved as a user. Students can also look forward to a Florida and Hyperpop-themed Gardner on March 8 sponsored by Pedal Grinnell.


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About the Contributors
Eleanor Corbin, Editor in Chief
Eleanor is a fourth-year political science major with a concentration in statistics. Nine out of ten times she is ready and willing to discuss embroidery, types of loose-leaf tea, and metal music. Best approached with her favorite candy, cherry Twizzler bites, in hand.
Meilynn Smith, Staff Photographer
Meilynn is a first-year from Vancouver, Washington. She is an intended biology major and wants to go into physical therapy in the future. She enjoys playing soccer, hanging out with friends, going on hikes, and photographing wildlife. 
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