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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

No Bike Haven at Fairhaven

Bikes at an outdoor bike rack in the Fairhaven Complex.

Fairhaven Complex bike owners in need of covered storage or a repair station for their bikes have to look elsewhere to fulfill their needs.

“It didn’t seem like there were a whole lot of easily accessible — as in outdoors, but also covered — places to lock up,” Theo Floor, a senior interdisciplinary studies major and former Fairhaven resident, said. “I ended up just carrying my bike into my suite every day, which was on the fourth floor, so it was kind of annoying to lug it up the stairs every day.”

Western provides bike support; from repair stations throughout campus to covered bike storage outside of many of its facilities. Fairhaven, the largest Western student housing complex, does not feature these same amenities.

Outside of each building is a simple, metal bike rack, lacking any additional cover outside of an overhanging roof. The roof helps to prevent constant exposure to sunlight and precipitation, but the areas themselves are very open, which can allow some of the elements to penetrate the space.

“From a long-term standpoint, trying to enhance the bike-storage capabilities within the residence halls is something that is on the plan.”

Terence Symonds, associate director for University Residence facilities

Mason Storrar, a recent Western graduate and bike mechanic at Fairhaven Bicycle, says that without cover, the weather could affect bike functionality.

“Having a bike out in the rain overnight, the chain’s probably going to end up pretty rusty in the morning,” Storrar said.

While one night of rain can lead to rust, there is potential for more serious issues from extended periods of exposure.

“Leaving a bike out in the rain long-term, water can seep into the headset bearings and the bottom bracket, sometimes even wheel bearings, and essentially just drains all the oil out of there,” Storrar said. “Not having lube in there can cause damages if not taken care of properly.”

Not all students have the means to afford bike repair, Storrar said.

Terence Symonds, the associate director for University Residence facilities, has yet to field any complaints about the subject.

“It hasn’t been mentioned,” Symonds said. “We actually engage with students in various ways. One of the things that the director of [University Residences] does is we have a ‘Dessert with the Director’ and we go to each one of the communities, but that issue hasn’t come up.”

Despite this, Symonds is aware of bike-storage issues on campus. It’s even on the docket for future improvements to the facilities.

“From a long-term standpoint, trying to enhance the bike-storage capabilities within the residence halls is something that is on the plan,” Symonds said.

In addition to the storage issue is the lack of a repair station, which can be helpful to bikers on campus.

“I’ve found the campus repair stations [to be] extremely helpful,” Floor said. “The year after I lived in Fairhaven, I was in Buchanan Towers and there’s a repair station on the ground floor, and that was very helpful there.”

Steps are being taken to address the situation.

Within minutes of being interviewed, Symonds reached out to Ashley Barnes, the resident director of Fairhaven Complex, asking for student input regarding the bicycle situation. The bike storage issue was originally slated to be on the agenda for the April 17 Hall Council meeting, but was pushed back a week and addressed at the April 24 meeting instead.

According to Barnes, the board was interested in better storage, though more for concerns of bike theft. Symonds has offered to assess the situation with any students willing to volunteer.


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