Fundraiser, grant to relieve Purple Bike waiting list

The hundreds of students in line to check out a purple bike can expect some relief.

The Purple Bike Program is looking to relieve demand with the addition of more than 50 bikes and a fundraiser, as hundreds are left on the wait list to get one of the 50 bikes currently available, program coordinator Keith Whitworth said.

Whitworth, a sociology professor, said the university will receive 10 more bikes funded by several people and organizations next week. Whitworth said he expects a $25,000 grant proposal made to an off-campus organization to be accepted by the end of October, providing funds for 50 bikes.

The bike program, created in 2006, allows students to enter their names in a raffle to decide who will be able to use a bike because of excess demand.

This process still stands, but those who do not want to wait for luck can take action now by participating in a fundraiser, Whitworth said.

Students who participate in the Purple Bike Program fundraiser must raise $500 to add a new bike, which they will keep for the duration of their studies at TCU and pass on to future students, Whitworth said. The goal is 500 bikes, he said

Participants sign up on the Web site and have family and friends donate to their fund. The site allows participants to calculate their carbon footprint, or the estimated carbon dioxide one is responsible for in a year, based on their driving habits.

The new program allows participants to raise funds individually or in groups, Whitworth said. Residence halls, departments, clubs, organizations and alumni can participate, Whitworth said.

“This is about creating awareness among a large number of people and contributing to a solution,” he said. “It is in essence a snow ball effect.”

Each bike is three-speed and comes with a helmet, combination lock and free maintenance. Atherton Bikes dissembles the bikes and paints each purple. A bell, wrap-around fenders, quick-release seat posts and a basket are added, all amounting to $500, Whitworth said.

The price may be high, but that is what it takes to have a high-quality bike and provide maintenance, Whitworth said.

Emma Hodcroft, logistical engineer for the program and senior biology major, said the bikes are safe and won’t break down easily, accounting for the high price.

“You can’t just go up to people and ask them to give you money because you want a nice bike,” she said. “While you are asking for a donation you are educating people and making a change.”

With the help of students who want to reduce their carbon footprint, the number of cars on campus will decrease, Hodcroft said. Because parking is a hassle and gas prices are high, using a bike is a way to resolve those worries, she said.