Taking a spin

By Kyle Hobstetter on January 30, 2018

Towson University is partnering with Spin to start a bike share program on campus.

In 2015, the League of American Bicyclists recognized Towson University as a "Bicycle Friendly" university. Now the campus is taking its next steps, or pedals, by starting a bike share program for the TU community.

Towson University Parking and Transportation Services has partnered with Spin, a bike share company founded in San Francisco, California, to bring 18 bike share locations to campus.

Under the President’s Climate Commission, Towson University has worked to add a bike share program to campus for almost two years. When presented an opportunity to work with Spin, TU felt it were the perfect partner to launch this new initiative.

“Spin is very hands-on, so we can be hands-off,” said Cathy Norris, program administrative specialist for Parking and Transportation Services. “They take responsibility for the bikes, the liability, the maintenance, the positioning of the bikes…they take responsibility for everything. And there is no initial cost to the campus, which means they don’t make us buy the bikes. 

“We spoke to 10 different bike share companies, and this one seemed to just float to the top and was the best fit for Towson University.”

Another reason Towson University chose Spin is that it’s one the premier station-less bike share programs in the country. While there are “docking stations”—mainly bike racks located around campus—the GPS tracking system installed on each bike eliminate the need for designated bike areas.

Spin also hires Towson University students to perform maintenance on the bikes and to make sure the bikes are located in the “docking stations” each day. 

“Anytime we can encourage somebody to come on-campus and hire students, we feel that’s a great idea,” Norris said. “We feel this program helps support our sustainability goal, helps lower our greenhouse gas footprint and promote alternative transportation.”

Rental rates start at $1 for a 30-minute ride, but those with a Towson University e-mail address can receive discounts.  

To sign up for the “Spin at TU” bike share program — students, faculty and staff must first download the Spin Bike app from the App Store or Google Play. Once the app is downloaded, riders can find the nearest bike.

Once at the bike, scan the QR code on the front or back of the bike to unlock it, and start your ride. When done with the bike, just park it and pull the lever down to lock the bike and end the trip.  

While bikes can be parked anywhere when a trip is finished, Parking and Transportation Services is asking riders to park bikes in the designated “docking areas” if possible. They are also asking to not leave bikes in front of doorways, on sidewalks or anywhere they could be a hazard to others.