Parking, schmarking. UL plans bike-leasing program

by Heather Miller

The Cajun bike will offer an alternative to fighting the mad traffic and parking issues on and around campus.

A weather-resistant, smooth pedaling bicycle will be an added transit option for UL students soon when Rugged Cycles rolls out the Cajun bike.

According to The Vermilion, the campus newspaper that finally recently unveiled its new website, university officials are working with bicycle manufacturer Rugged Cycles to offer high-quality, chainless bicycles for students to lease for about $1 a day.

The Texas company was started by UL graduates and has already tried pilot bicycle leasing programs at two Texas A&M campuses. UL will be the third school to offer cycling as a way to combat campus parking woes:

"Obviously, there's a parking problem on campus. There are more cars than the university can handle," said Joey Schulz, marketing manager for Rugged Cycles and UL graduate. "These bikes are always ready to ride. It's sustainable, cheaper and more reliable than other bikes or vehicles."

Rugged Cycles, founded in 2008, originally developed its bikes for the industrial market to allow employees to move around plants and refineries quickly and efficiently. The bicycles utilize a drift shaft, like those found in motorcycles, which won't rust or break, instead of a chain; solid polyurethane tires that outlast rubber four to one; and an aluminum alloy frame that is resistant to weather and humidity. The frame is powder-coated, as opposed to painted, which lasts longer than paint.

"They last forever," said Schulz. "They won't look terrible and will last indefinitely."

Schulz, 30, compared the bike lease program to renting a textbook, in which Rugged Cycles would lease the bikes to UL for a set price, and UL would lease them to students to the equivalent of $1 a day, or approximately $30 a month. Students could lease for months, semesters or years, depending on their interest. Retail price for the bikes is around $1200.

It's unclear when students will start to see the cycles around campus, but in the meantime students can visit the Cajun bikes Facebook page to offer input and learn more about the leasing program.

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