Lehigh’s new Bike Share – My Zagster Adventure

BACKGROUND:
It’s not officially Spring Break, but it might as well be. When I ended class yesterday, I wished my students a happy adventure and (in the words of my friend, Jason) to always make good choices.

The weather is a bit cool, 56 degrees and breezy today. I’m all caught up with the grading, and am about to spend the evening with a middle school jazz band show.  I need an adventure, too.

I read the Daily Announcements. First item was about the new bike sharing program. I didn’t over eat at my breakfast meeting, but I am wearing the right clothes.

SETTING:
Today I had a meeting scheduled at the Charles Brown Ice House just on the other side of the river. The Fahy bridge is under construction, but I knew I’d still be able to cross with the temporary pedestrian lane. I have no confidence to take a new-to-me bike into that traffic. During the winter break, I made a film as a part of a faculty development initiative. My assigned topic was the proposed pedestrian bridge. After making that film, riding a bike on the bridge scares the heck out of me.

It’s only $15 a year to access the Zagster bikes. I created an account at my desk, uploaded the app on my iPhone, then popped to the nearest terminal. The only terminal on campus is on the second level of the Campus Square Parking Garage, near the Asa Drive entrance. (Um, is the parking garage now also called “Farrington Square,” too?)

It took me a couple of tries to get the access box open to unlock my bike: a good ol’ granny model with a basket on the front and a “lady frame” for easier mounting. The bike even has a fun little bell on the handle bars! I didn’t have a helmet with me. It felt very “European” to throw caution to the wind and go for a ride to a meeting anyway.

I made it!
IMG_5056

I’ve been working out regularly since the New Year. It felt so good to be able to try something physical and feel like it was no big deal. Heck, I didn’t even break a sweat. I wanted to show off Lehigh’s new bike share program so I posted this image on Instagram. And decided I wasn’t done with the adventure yet.

I hopped back on for the ride back and hit a pot hole big enough to pop the chain off the gears. Three police officers were lined up along the street. Surely one of them would come to my rescue so I wouldn’t have to get my hands full of chain grease. Guess I didn’t look helpless enough, or maybe I wasn’t asking them to get my cat out of a tree. So I fixed it all by myself (thanks, Girl Scouts). As I pushed off to get back on the bridge, I saw they were investigating something. Sorry, guys. I’m sure that’s way more important than getting my hands a little dirty.

Feeling even more confident that I can manage a tiny little repair, I decided to treat myself to lunch. Off to Deja Brew for some delicious Tomato Basil soup with extra crackers.

IMG_5058

There’s no bike rack here. There used to be.

I decided to take my soup to my office on the bike. Seemed like a great idea. What could go wrong?

IMG_5059Nothing. My soup made it in tact. And hot. No bike rack in front of my office building, either. But now I’m emboldened. Why should the students get all the adventures? I challenge all of my colleagues on campus who don’t really get a spring break to find an adventure anyway. It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

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