Freewheel Collective's Blog

"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man." -Iris Murdoch


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Brooklyn Resurrection

Group picture

During a gloriously bright and chilly day on March 30th, an intrepid group of Freewheelers embarked on a bicycling odyssey heretofore unknown in the annals of Freewheel lore. Adam, Jenny, Chris, Aman, Noto, and J. Matt undertook a momentous 34 mile tour through the beautiful and historic borough of Brooklyn, New York City. For those interested in such things, we followed (more-or-less) the route described here, with two important stops/detours:

  1. A Kosher bakery for a quick energy 1-up and,
  2. A stop at Coney Island to stroll along the boardwalk, eat lunch, and take a ride on the Cyclone!

There were also encounters with a giant squid, killer sausages, irate pathways, and metal palm trees. You can see pictures of our hijinks here. Be sure that, with the the long stretch of warmer months ahead there will be more Freewheel rides, maybe even in the city again. If you would be interested in doing a ride like this in the future, comment here!

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Liberate-Reuse-Recycle

Freewheel Bicycle Collective is working with Stony Brook University’s Facilities and Services, the University Police, and University Recycling to remove, recycle, restore, and reuse abandoned bicycles from racks on campus. This program is a win-win-win situation: abandoned bikes are unsightly and hazardous obstructions, they take up space that could be occupied by bicycles that are actively used, and they are often still usable (for parts, at least) for other riders.

The program starts by locating bikes on campus that appear abandoned. Anyone can report an abandoned bike; the best people to notify are the building manager, the University Police, or Freewheel! Here are some tell-tale signs that the bike may be abandoned:

  • the chain or other components are very RUSTY
  • the tire is “TACO” (bent out of shape
  • there are major parts missing (handlebars, wheels, seatposts)
  • the bike is laying on the ground or suspended at a weird angle…

Abandoned bikes are being tagged with conspicuous hot pink tags that inform the owner (if there is still an owner) that their bike must be removed within two weeks from the tagging date, or it will be removed by the University Police/Facilities & Services.

When the bike gets removed, it is transferred to the Freewheel Bicycling Collective. We will hold on to the bike and assess which parts of the bike will be recycled and which may be reused in our shop. Whenever possible, the bikes will be refurbished and granted to members of the campus community (students, faculty, & staff) that are in need of a bike. These bikes are granted on a first come-first serve basis. For more information on any aspect of this program or to report the location of abandoned bikes, contact the Freewheel Coordinator at fwcoord – at- gmail -dot- com

Happy Bicycling!


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Ride this week!

Its getting close to the end of the semester and the pressure of finals, grading, etc. is bearing down upon us.  What better way to relieve some of that stress than to take a relaxing bike ride around the area?  Post comments here to suggest a ride this week.

I’ll start: Stony Brook Campus to Port Jefferson Village, Saturday April 26, 10 am meet at the fountain in the center of campus (up by admin and the humanities bldgs).  Post a comment that you would like to join this ride or suggest another.


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EarthStock and Rides for Racks Wrap-Up

We had lovely weather on Friday for EarthStock.  Thanks to Chris, Jack, Brooke, and Mat for volunteering their time at the table.  We made a few friends that joined us for rides on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.

On Friday, a few of us rode around the central campus areas to locate bike racks and survey their usage.  On Saturday, we rode around the dorms and graduate student apartments.  A summary of our findings is on its way, but for now check out some of the photos of bikes mapped to their location. The goal with this is to identify bikes that should be removed due to neglect, recycle them or reuse them as possible through the Freewheel Collective’s bike granting programs.  We also wanted to try and understand how bike racks can be better used.

Given the number of (apparently) unused racks, we have realized that more bike racks is not necessarily the best remedy.  Well-placed and covered racks can hopefully improve the common situation of bikes rusting over the winter and then being abandoned by students.  The West Apartments have many racks but most of the bikes on them have been stripped of their wheels, seats, and handlebars.  It seems like the damage is not as bad when the racks are placed at the main entrance of the buildings (compared to the racks behind the buildings).  More analysis to come and your comments and feedback are appreciated.

After we completed our survey on Saturday, we took a short jaunt down to the Stony Brook Harbor, Village, and skirted around the Mill Pond and Avalon Preserve.  We stopped for ice cream in the village and returned to campus. It was a swell day.