GSB member attends bike summit to benefit bike share program


This was the preferred concept by the Bike Share Committee. The bike share bill was voted down by the Student Government on Sept. 3, 2014, but will be revisited this fall.

Michaela Ramm

A member of GSB had the opportunity to help improve a bike share project in the works by traveling to the Iowa Bike Summit. 

Nick Terhall, director of University Affairs, was invited to attend the Iowa Bike Summit in Des Moines on Jan. 23. The summit was Terhall’s opportunity to find ways to help improve GSB’s current project, the bike share program for Iowa State’s campus.

“[Terhall] was invited specifically for his involvement with bike share,” said Mike Hoefer, vice president of GSB. “He’s been the head guy of all the groups that have been working on it.”

Hillary Kletscher, president of GSB, said the bike program was something she took the lead on initially before transitioning the power over to Terhall.

“I’m very excited about the project, it was really something I really enjoyed starting as vice president,” Kletscher said. “It just shows that what we do in student government can have a larger impact and really mean something to the student experience. I really hope we can make it happen.”

Kletscher said she believes the summit will help with the ISU program, especially with funding.

“This could take a long time, but we want to make sure that funding isn’t the piece that is holding us back from putting a project in place,” Kletscher said.

Funding was one of Terhall’s main goals to accomplish during his day at the Summitt and a goal that he feels he has accomplished.

Terhall said he had the opportunity to network with various funding agencies at the state and federal level, while learning about the grant application processes.

“Overall, it was really great to get some more exposure to state and local officials who may have heard of the program before,” Terhall said. “They were really impressed by the progress we made in the last year.”

The bike share program was an initiative that began in the summer of 2013. It was the brainchild of industrial design students, who proposed the program to GSB to ask for funding.

Gabe Walsh, speaker of GSB, said the proposal was initially denied. However, after a change in the bill, the program received the funding as well as a GSB committee to look into the project.

Transportation was the main topic of discussion at GSB’s latest session, particularly concerning the bike share program. A committee of senators has been formed to study the possibility of the project.

Walsh said the whole idea for the bill was not just going to give the bike share committee money because there were so many student objections to the program.

“We alleviated that by giving them less money. We also created this committee, not to be experts on bike share, but to gather student voices and use our resources,” Walsh said. “As representatives, we have connections other people might not have.”

The next step for the bike share program would be getting the funding. Terhall said he learned about the applications for grants at the summit and knows what the process will look like.

“I’m looking to find a couple business or finance students to help us out with the grant application process,” Terhall said.

Hoefer said that there are currently multiple groups working together to come up with a solution to the program. These groups include industrial design students, mechanical design students and community regional planning students.

Last spring, the industrial design students made a bike prototype for the program. This fall, the class worked with mechanical engineering students to make a feasible design that can be scaled up and mass produced.

Kletscher said the community regional planning students did a feasibility study of the bike share program on campus.

“There’s some things they identified infrastructure improvements that we really should make before we commit to putting a system on campus,” Kletscher said.

Terhall said the summit gave him a good insight on what projects have done.

“I think what was most helpful was Mason City’s,” Terhall said. “They’re a good model for us to start looking at and figuring out how we can scale it down to do it on campus.”

Terhall said Mason City’s system had more of what the potential ISU program would have, such as the infrastructure, marketing, public relations and working with law enforcement.

Terhall said the summit will help move the project forward. The program has been working this semester to have all of its prototyping done.

“We’re working to send off bikes to manufacturers within the next week to [week-and-a-half],” Terhall said. “We also want to make sure the funding process is started.”

Terhall said the summit was a great opportunity and he’s confident he will accomplish the goals he’s set for the bike share program before his graduation in May.